Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard is at the centre of an Old Trafford revival and he is keen to help Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to be successful as a coach.
Lingard is buoyed by memories of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as a Manchester United fan and player, as he says he remains inspired by his manager’s playing career.
The 26-year-old is from Warrington, near Manchester, and he came through the youth ranks with the Premier League giants under the leadership of the legendary striker, who coached in the club’s academy.
Solskjaer arrived to replace Jose Mourinho in December after a poor start to the season for United, but nine wins in 10 games have put them back among the Premier League’s top five.
The current interim boss is auditioning for the job full time, but his link with the club is deep thanks to his playing career, with a last-minute winner in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich serving as his most memorable moment.
Lingard thinks that his manager has been immortalised by that moment and is aiming to emulate his success.
“I think it will live forever,” Lingard told Goal of the moment Solskjaer won the Champions League for United. “The scenes were crazy and to try to replicate that for us, it would be massive. I can’t imagine that feeling at that time.
“I think I was at home. I think I was at home with my family. Obviously, it was crazy scenes in Manchester.
One of the best scenes that Manchester has ever witnessed. You see that and you grow up with the dream of winning that. Obviously, it is possible and you can dream hard to make that happen.
“The Baby-Faced Assassin, I remember the four goals that he scored against Nottingham Forest, was it? It was.
I just remember that curly hair. He is a great; everyone used to call him ‘super-sub’. Even now, he still thinks and knows that subs come on and change games.
“He has been there and done that. He understands what is needed from Man United players, to wear that shirt with pride and passion and to put 100% in week-in, week-out. He passed that message to us and we are doing the same.
“It feels like the old United coming back. Especially with [Michael] Carrick and Mike Phelan being there as well. They have both been there and done that too.
For them to be there and pass on their knowledge to us, the main points were to get back to how Man United play, and that’s attacking football.
“We are back to winning ways now and that’s the way it should be.
Ole has been great since he has come in and he has got the lads working hard. He has got his structure and organisation in the team. We are back to our football and winning games.”
Lingard is known for his jovial and positive attitude and has plenty of reason to smile at the moment both on social media and on the pitch as his passion for music and fashion accompany his interest in football.
Ahead of Man United’s 3-1 defeat to Man City in November, Lingard released his fashion line ‘JLINGZ’, which is based on the nickname given by some to the forward.
However, Lingard was criticised for the timing of the launch, but he believes that his ability to enjoy things outside football is a positive influence on his game.
“I have always been a kid who likes to enjoy himself and play his football with a smile on his face no matter what,” Lingard added.
“When you work hard to get where you are, you have got to enjoy yourself, but still work hard at the same time.
“100% [it is good to escape from football sometimes]. I like to experiment in different things and see how things go. I have always been into fashion. I have enjoyed doing the brand stuff at the moment, the fans are loving it, and it is for them.
“I have always been competitive at whatever I have done. Whether it is tag or Uno, play anything you want, I am competitive so I will stay competitive.”
Jesse Lingard was speaking at the launch of the Coca-Cola and Premier League campaign, ‘Where Everyone Plays’ and features in the new TV ad as Coca-Cola’s newest ambassador