Jesse Lingard
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 13: Jesse Lingard of Manchester United celebrates victory after the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on January 13, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The 26-year-old midfielder remembers how hard was to break into first-team football when he started playing with Manchester United in 2011.

Jesse Lingard joined Manchester United in 2000 as a young footballer.

He spent eleven years in the Red Devils youth system until he was called up for the first time to the Senior squad.

But he had a very difficult time breaking into the first team.

First, he was given a chance to debut by Sir Alex Ferguson in the League Cup Quarterfinals against Crystal Palace on November 30, 2011. But he did not play that day.

Louis Van Gaal gave him a chance and he finally made his debut with Manchester United in the 2014-2015 season but had to leave the field 24 minutes later because of an injury.

Now, he’s a regular with United and he wants to explain why.

“I’ll never forget the day Sir Alex called me and Pogba up to the bench, away at Newcastle,” he told The Player’s Tribune.

“We were 18, 19. I just remember looking around the dressing room and seeing all the legends preparing, pulling their socks on. Scholes. Rooney. Rio. Giggsy.”

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“I and Pogs take our spot on the bench, and you know, we were used to playing in reserve games in front of 200 people,” he explained.

“This is 50,000. I remember looking up at that massive glass stand at the one end, and it was shaking. And I looked over at Pogs like, Oh my gosh, if the gaffer actually puts me in, I might wet meself.”

“Lucky for me, we stayed on the bench that day. But that was such a big moment for me. Just to be thrown into the fire like that, and to get to wear the shirt for Sir Alex, it was massive for my belief,” he added.

“When I finally got my debut in a United shirt against Swansea back in 2014, that was supposed to be the payoff for all the grafting, all the pain, all the years away from home.”

“My whole family was in the stands at Old Trafford. I was 22 years old, just like Sir Alex predicted. This was it. We’d made it. Then I did my knee after 20 minutes,” he painfully remembers.

“I was on the shelf for about 6 months. Couldn’t train. Couldn’t walk. Couldn’t do anything.”

“Just laying on the sofa seeing United on Match of the Day, gutted. It was probably the lowest point of my life. I was genuinely depressed” he added.

“It took me hitting rock bottom to really appreciate the opportunity we all have every time we pull on that United shirt. It can all go away in an instant.”