Manchester United football star Jesse Lingard, recently paid a visit to St. Margaret’s Primary, where he enjoyed his first taste of school life in his home town of Warrington back in the day.
The down-to-earth 26-year-old spread smiles, joy and laughter as he surprised and delighted the school’s youngsters… even if he did flash them a few yellow and red cards!
“It’s been a long time,” he reflected, as we edged closer to the destination and some of our no.14’s earliest memories began to flood back.
“I was nervous at first. I think everyone is,” he added, recalling his first steps into the schoolyard as an infant, over two decades ago. “But once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature.
“It was just pure enjoyment, being there every day with my friends. I don’t think I ever missed a day! I was always 100 per cent record attendance. Over the years, I’ve always wanted to go back, sit back and just reminisce about the good times.
Of course it might have changed by now, but just to be back there and get that feeling of being a kid again – you can’t beat that.”
The pupils – who include Jesse’s little sister – did not yet know the Academy graduate was visiting, so there was an element of stealth involved.
Manchester United Foundation staff took a select group of 20-30 kids through some activities, to distract them from the menagerie of cameras, microphones and press folk scattered across the back of the hall.
As Jesse entered, passing the multicoloured climbing frames and gymnastic equipment, the youngsters erupted. Within seconds, however, they were stunned into an awed silence, as Lingard sat down on a PE bench for a chat.
The pupils asked him,
“What was your favourite subject?”
“What’s your best memory of school?”
, before listening with rapt attention to the replies.
Then, it was time for some fun. Sadly there could be no football, due to Jesse’s injury against PSG just days earlier, but in its place was that old classic, benchball – with our hero given the refereeing gig, and some obligatory yellow and red cards.
There were deafening cheers as the contest began, with Lingard in his element, imparting fun and humour at every turn.
He pretended to dish out a yellow to a kid who excitedly tried to intercept the ball upon its return to the match official, and channeled his inner Mike Dean with some ridiculously dramatic signalling.
Breathless excitement filled the air, as the kids with their giddy grins sat down to listen to Jesse’s interview with
Source: Inside United