Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof has revealed he held childhood aspirations of becoming a goalkeeper after he was inspired by former Red Devils shot-stopper Fabien Barthez.
The Sweden international, who arrived at Old Trafford last season from Benfica, made 29 appearances for the club as Jose Mourinho’s side finished second in the 2017-18 Premier League.
But the 24-year-old admitted that he did not always have his heart set on the centre-back position and that he was swayed towards the spot between the posts in his younger years by a piece of kit that bore the name of the legendary France keeper.
“When I was younger, we had a market in my hometown in Sweden that sold different shirts there,” Lindelof told the club's official website.
“My mother brought me a Barthez shirt, so that's why I wanted to be a goalkeeper.
“I wanted to be a striker as well but, in that moment of my life, I wanted to be a goalkeeper.”
Barthez arrived at United in 2000 from Monaco and over the following three years made 139 appearances for the club under Sir Alex Ferguson at the Theatre of Dreams.
A Champions League winner with Marseille in 1993 and a World Cup victor with France in 1998, he also claimed two Premier League titles during his stint at the Red Devils.
But poor form and the arrival of Tim Howard following the 2002-03 campaign put an end to his tenure as first-choice goalkeeper and he returned to Marseille, initially on loan and then permanently at the end of the 2003-04 season.
Lindelof has retained the No.2 jersey at Old Trafford under Jose Mourinho this season and will be hopeful of playing a key role in the club’s attempt to win a first league title since 2013.
United lost their second game of the season 3-2 away to Brighton and Hove Albion and next face Tottenham on August 27.