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Man Utd star Lingard admits to taking inspiration from Arsenal legend in shirt selection

19:59 GMT+3 13/06/2017
Jesse Lingard Manchester United
The England international wears number 14 for the Red Devils, with that choice driven by the exploits of Gunners icon Thierry Henry in years gone by

Jesse Lingard chose number 14 at Manchester United after being a fan of Arsenal icon Thierry Henry growing up, and is hoping to swap jerseys with Lionel Messi at some stage of his career.

A product of the Old Trafford academy system, the 24-year-old made his first-team breakthrough under Louis van Gaal in 2015-16.

He has gone on to make 83 appearances for United, helping them to three trophies in 2016-17 as he netted in the Community Shield and EFL Cup final.

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Both of those efforts came with 14 on his back, with Lingard having traded down the order last summer after previously netting in the 2016 FA Cup final while donning 35.

He told United’s official website on why he made the change: “I just think it’s a great number to have.

“Obviously, Thierry Henry had it and he’s a great figure in football. He was a great goalscorer when I was younger. I used to look up to him and watch most of his goals so I think ‘14’ is a good number.”

Lingard admits to having kept and framed the shirts he wore on the most memorable occasions in his career.

He is, however, not a prolific swapper of shirts – despite having taken in meetings with a number of global stars during his time with United and England.

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The hard-working midfielder would welcome the opportunity to get his hands on a couple of Barcelona jerseys, though, with the Liga giants boasting two of his heroes on their books.

Asked who he would most like to swap shirts with, Lingard said: “Messi, I think, or [Andres] Iniesta.”

Lingard may get the opportunity to request such a trade in 2017-18, with United back in the Champions League and prepared to take on all comers – including Barca – in their pursuit of further continental success.