Man Utd's Jesse Lingard has been compared to Andres Iniesta by Rene Meulensteen

What do Jesse Lingard and Andres Iniesta have in common?

Well, they’re both midfielders who have played for some of the biggest clubs in Europe, but there’s little cause for comparison when you truly scratch the surface.

Lingard has been widely criticised at Manchester United this season after going a year without a single goal or assist in the Premier League.

Meanwhile, Iniesta is a bona fide Barcelona legend and although he’s slowly winding down his career in Japan, he’s universally accepted as one of the greatest footballers in history.

So, in other words, nobody in their right mind would imply that Lingard is on a similar level to Iniesta, even if he’s a better player than his dire statistics would suggest, right?

Lingard compared to Iniesta

Well, try telling that to former United coach Rene Meulensteen, who seems strangely obsessed with opining that Lingard has some of the same qualities of Iniesta. I kid you not.

“Jesse had various loan clubs and then he came back,” Meulensteen explained on The Michael Anthony Show.

“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.”

Meulensteen’s previous comments

If that’s make you scratch your head, then you’re in the same boat as the rest of us and what makes the situation all the more bizarre is that Meulensteen has made the comparison more than once.

In 2018, the Dutchman remarked: “I saw so many similarities in their games, and I always believed that Jesse was the English Andres Iniesta.

“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.”

GIVEMESPORT’s Kobe Tong says

Look, OK, I’m sure Meulensteen isn’t genuinely suggesting that Lingard and Iniesta are rubbing shoulders at the table of footballing gods, but it’s still a rather bizarre comment.

Iniesta and Lingard’s similar positions mean that they have certain attributes in common, it’s just that the Barca great does everything to a much higher standard.

I get that Meulensteen is far more qualified than you and I to form these opinions, but Lingard simply hasn’t shown enough in a United shirt to deserve placement in the same sentence as Iniesta.

And perhaps most tellingly, I’m pretty sure Lingard himself would agree.

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