By Kelvin YapFollow @@plevyakin
Exclusive by Kelvin Yap in Shanghai
The Manchester United Academy has been successfully producing top-class footballers for the club, perhaps most famously the ‘Class of 1992', which included the likes of Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham and Paul Scholes.
Lingard, a born-and-bred Manchester United lad, has taken the path that the abovementioned legends have, graduating from the Manchester United Academy before taking his place in the Reserves side.
The 20-year-old was part of a successful Reserve side that won the Manchester Senior Cup, Premier League Reserve North and Premier League Reserve National last season and hopes are high that youngsters like Scott Wootton, Larnell Cole, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Robbie Brady will step up and take the reins at the Old Trafford club.
With many of them included in the DHL Manchester United 2012 Tour, it's a sign that the youngsters are being primed to make the step up into the team by learning from the senior players.
Lingard speaks to ESPNSTAR.com's Kelvin Yap in an exclusive interview in the Shanghai leg of the DHL Manchester United 2012 Tour.
Q: The Reserve side you were part of last year were really successful. Do you think the team can go on to become another ‘Class of 92'?
A: Yeah, definitely. We've got the players on our team to do that. We can only hope the boss gives us the chances and maybe this season we'll show what we can do. Everyone's got different talents and to use in different ways, so it gives us a huge potential here.
Q: There are many young players like you taking the first step up to the first team in the DHL Manchester United 2012 Tour. How has around the senior players been like?
A: Everyone sticks together and gets along great. Obviously the older ones welcome the younger ones and there's a great team spirit, so we feel really welcome.
Q: What is the biggest thing you've learnt so far?
How they do stuff around the hotel, the way they act. They're so grown up and experienced in what they do and they pass it on to us. So we'll be able to do that when we go away next time and maybe pass it on to the next generation.
Q: What about on the field?
A: It's just the stuff they do out there - like Scholes pinging balls for fun - obviously you can't teach that, it's natural talent but it's a great joy to watch and learn from.
Q: Do you have a player in the senior squad as a mentor, a role model?
I look up to all of them really and they're all great role models for any young player to follow.
Q: Is there someone who you would like to fashion your game after?
A: Obviously everyone wants to play like Messi but I think I'll just play my own game and try to do what I do best.
Q: Do you think that money is being too big a concern for young players like yourself and making it difficult for the club to hold on to their young talents?
You could say that but it's up to the boss how much you are offered. I think you should take it (staying at the club) personally. It's one of the best clubs in the world and I don't see why anyone would want to leave, really.
Q: You have spoken about going on loan previously but with your inclusion in the first team in this tour, do you think you have a chance at being in the first team?
A: That's what I'm aiming for. I haven't spoken to the boss about his plans for me yet. Hopefully when we get back, I'll be asked to stay on with the first team. Staying at Manchester United is what I want to do so maybe it's the Reserves but I hope I'll be pushing for a spot in the first team.
Q: You've played under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Scholes in the Reserves previously. What was it like?
A: In training, Scholesy gives us little tips here and there; obviously he's been in around a lot and it helps as the tips play into our game in matches. It's great having them around.
ESPNSTAR was speaking to Jesse Lingard courtesy of DHL, the sponsors for the DHL Manchester United 2012 Tour