Warrington-born Jesse Lingard has progressed through the ranks with United after being treated patiently by the coaches.
The forward has become one of the top English players at Reserves and Under-21 level and has enjoyed two seasons of success both personally and collectively. Proving he can handle the step up from
Academy football after lifting the FA Youth Cup, the wiry attacker can play on the flanks or in his preferred central role, just behind the striker.
A clever and assured finisher, he is capable of mixing the spectacular finish with clinical, well-placed shots, he causes problems for defenders with his direct running.
A hard worker who always tracks back for the team, he made an impression during the 2012 DHL tour and was on the bench for the Carling Cup ties against Newcastle and Chelsea. Later in the year, he joined Leicester on loan to obtain some first-team experience but returned to United in time to help Warren Joyce's side win more silverware.
Often asked to provide some creative flair with his dribbling skills, he was leading scorer on the 2013 tour which prompted legendary star Peter Schmeichel to say, "Maybe, just maybe this is Jesse Lingard's season."
A loan move to Birmingham City was deemed the best option for the youngster and he made an incredible instant impression with four goals against Sheffield Wednesday. "It was an unbelievable start for Jesse," commented Warren Joyce. "Roy of the Rovers stuff. You could not write a script like that."
Lingard scored four on his debut for Birmingham City
Lingard was born in Warrington, Cheshire, and attended William Beamont Community High School. He progressed through Manchester United's youth academy and was part of the side that won the 2010/11 FA Youth Cup, before signing a professional contract in the summer of 2011.
On 6 November 2012, Lingard and teammate Michael Keane joined Leicester City on loan. Lingard made his debut for Leicester on 6 November, in a 0–0 draw away to Bolton Wanderers, coming on as a substitute in the 85th minute.
[This summer] Lingard was selected in the 19-man squad for Manchester United's 2013 pre-season tour. He scored his first two goals for United in a 5–1 friendly win against the A-League All Stars in Sydney on 20 July 2013, the first of which was the club's first goal under new manager David Moyes.
After the game, he said "I believe in myself but I have to start believing in myself more". He also scored against Yokohama F. Marinos and Kitchee SC to finish the tour as top scorer with four goals in as many matches.
Although he had hoped to "skip the loan stage this time and break straight through" at Manchester United, Lingard joined Birmingham City on a month's loan.
He went straight into the starting eleven for the match at home to Sheffield Wednesday, opened the scoring after 20 minutes with his first goal in senior football when goalkeeper Chris Kirkland parried
Chris Burke's shot, completed his hat-trick 13 minutes later, and scored a fourth in the second half.
In his third league game, he made up for missing a penalty, awarded when he was fouled apparently outside the area, with an 89th-minute header to complete a 4–0 defeat of Millwall.
Agreement was reached to extend Lingard's loan until 14 December, but he then missed three matches while receiving treatment at Manchester United for a knee injury.
The loan was further extended, to 1 January 2014, but Lingard was suspended for the last two matches of the spell. Against Wigan Athletic on 26 December, he was sent off for a lunge on Jordi Gómez immediately after being refused a free kick when he appeared to be fouled.
Although Birmingham hoped to extend the loan, Lingard returned to Manchester United and was an unused substitute in the match against Swansea City on 11 January.