How do you define a Manchester United player? It’s a question that those Red Devils supporters, old to young, will have differing opinions over.
Does it come down to the ability to take players on? Or the know how to control the tempo of the match? Or the courage to lead from the front, motivating players at every opportunity?
While United players possess contrasting characteristics that are emblematic of a top professional, there is a sense that when you play at Old Trafford you need a certain mind-set to make it on a consistent basis.
Jesse Lingard could be recognised as one of those players. Not always the first player on the team sheet, the England international doesn’t complain if he is dropped from the squad, and instead goes back to the training ground to work harder and pressurise himself more to become somebody who is worthy to wear a red shirt.
The attitude of what you get out is as a result of what you put in is engrained in Lingard’s head. Promising loan spells at Derby County and Birmingham City were unsurprising to United scouts who knew the talent of Lingard in his early days at the academy in Manchester.
Yet it was not easy for Lingard in his early United days, having to wait three years to make his competitive debut after joining the club in 2011.
Even then he was sent on another loan spell, before properly introducing himself in the 2015/16 season. The wait seemed to galvanise Lingard, and he was now ready to make an impact at a higher level with confidence in his own ability.
Goals in the 2016 FA Cup Final and 2017 League Cup Final won United two trophies, both vital moments in the context of the match, given how close the Red Devils were to Crystal Palace and Southampton in both.
The rise is a testament to somebody who bleeds red. This year Lingard has been directly involved in ten goals, with six goals and four assists, in just seven games.
With United two goals down to Burnley, the home side needed a minor miracle to achieve a point, even with bundles of pressure. And even though Lingard couldn’t find the net from just three yards out, midway through the second half he made a recovery instantly, producing a lovely little flick to give the home fans hope.
Lingard’s attitude epitomises what United fans want to see in a player. The will to never give up and keep going is something that the English international believes in. It was not a surprise to see him equalise in the 90th minute. All 75,000 in the stadium knew it.