Jesse Lingard says he relishes his status as “an influencer” – and that criticism of his off-field interests will not force him to change.
The Manchester United and England forward has emerged as a key figure for club and country, impressing at the World Cup finals last summer and playing an integral role in the Old Trafford attack.
Lingard’s prominent social media presence and commercial interests away from football coupled with his playful on-pitch celebrations have invited criticism in some quarters.
In addition to his 6.2 million followers on Instagram and 1.3 million on Twitter, Lingard has close to 250,000 subscribers to a YouTube channel he launched and has his own clothing label, JLingz, and starred in advertising campaigns for JD Sports and Coca-Cola.
But Lingard insists he is only being himself and revealed that one of his clothing ranges – “Be Yourself” – was inspired by some of the negativity and criticism he has encountered.