Former Manchester United Assistant Says Jesse Lingard Has Same Attributes As Andres Iniesta
Former Manchester United assistant manager Rene Meulensteen believes Jesse Lingard can back to his best and compared the midfielder to Barcelona and Spain legend Andres Iniesta.
Lingard's form has declined massively in recent times, with the 27-year old having gone over a year without scoring a Premier League goal.
A number of fans have turned on Lingard and there's talk that he could look for a new challenge in the summer - with both Atletico Madrid and Roma said to be interested.
But Meulensteen, who coached Lingard in the academy set-up at United, is confident the United No.14 can get back to his best and believes he's got a bit of Iniesta about him.
"And I think Louis van Gaal was the manager at the time and Louis was very big on bringing young players through and Jesse got the chance to suddenly play in the first team and so did [Marcus] Rashford.
"That's the luck that you need and certain managers can see it. Jesse always had attributes in his game as Iniesta had for Barcelona.
"Jesse, in my opinion - and I think he knows it himself, he's a great kid - he's the sort of player that's so difficult for opposition teams to mark.
"I think it's more a confidence thing, you need to recognise as staff and coaches and say 'okay, when did you have the best games? When did you score the most goals? And why isn't it happening now?'
"Somewhere down that line there's a dent and you need to find that and what you can do to make sure the focus goes back."
The Iniesta comparison is one that Meulensteen has made before. In 2018, along with revealing that a young Lingard caught the eye of both Diego Forlan and Ruud van Nistelrooy when they watched youth team training sessions, the former Fulham boss paid him a huge compliment.
" I always believed that Jesse was the English Andres Iniesta," he told Bleacher Report.
"Like Iniesta, he finds these pockets of space, he is always on the move and has very good feet. The only thing missing until recently was goals, but now Jesse is scoring important goals too.
"In my opinion, you could fly Jesse to Barcelona, let him play in Iniesta's position, and he would comfortably be able to do it and fit in. And he does it in the Premier League, which is more difficult than La Liga, so that is a credit to Jesse."