‘I was right to put my trust in Sir Alex’ – Lingard hails Ferguson prediction

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With seven goals and two assists in his last nine Premier League outings, the 25-year-old England international is one of England's in-form players

Jesse Lingard is delighted that he put his faith in Sir Alex Ferguson’s prediction that he would eventually begin to thrive at Manchester United.

The legendary Old Trafford boss had to sit down with the player and his father several years ago to persuade them that it was possible for Lingard to develop into a star performer for the Red Devils.

Over the course of the last couple of months, Lingard has emerged as a vital figure in Jose Mourinho’s plans, and it appears that he is finally realising the potential that Ferguson once saw in him, despite having to spend a good deal of time away on loan with the likes of Leicester, Brighton and Derby.

The 25-year-old has scored seven times and created two more goals in his last nine Premier League outings - making him one of the form players in England.

"Me and my dad put that trust in Sir Alex to say that," Lingard told Sky Sports News. "It's obviously worked. He guessed right.

"I think it's my time now. I knew we had to step up and kind of take charge. That's what I've done.

Jesse Lingard Manchester United Watford

"The goals have come, which has given me confidence. Each game I just want to score now, that's my main objective.

"The first few seasons I was just getting used to the Premier League, I just wanted to play football.

"This season I've come in with objectives, a different mindset to get goals and assists. When you score a goal it boosts yourself and the team as well."

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United have the chance to close the 15-point gap to Manchester City at the top of the standings on Monday, when they tackle Stoke, and even if they cannot do so this season, the aim is to turn that situation around as rapidly as possible, Lingard says.

"Man United is a club where we always want to win and be first," he explained. "If second is the spot we have to take then we'll take it as long as we're up there and winning games. But our main priority is to be first all the time.

"The mentality of the lads is always to win, and the manager's mindset is the same. We come into each season wanting to come out on top as number one."