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Jesse Lingard hailed as "the English Iniesta" by former Manchester United coach

Jesse Lingard Iniesta

The Dutchman spent six-and-a-half years as a first-team coach at Old Trafford until Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, and believes the 26-year-old possesses all the qualities that the legendary Scottish manager valued.

Speaking to 888sport, Meulensteen highlighted the similarities between the United academy product, who has made 20 Premier League appearances this season, and Spain's World Cup-winning midfield maestro. 

“Sir Alex always had a clear picture of what a good player looked like and they had to have quick feet, quick brain, and a big heart,” he said.

“That is basically everything that Jesse had but he was very slight for his age. I worked with him from the age of eight or nine, taking him abroad for tournaments. He was always having to fight battles because he was tiny in build.

“But all things level themselves out and eventually those three things make a difference – quick feet, a quick brain, and a big heart. And he has done ever so well.

“The fans always need to associate themselves with players who have come through the ranks.

“While I was there and Sir Alex was there, it was so important to keep bringing young players through.

“The difference with Jesse is that he was always the English version of Iniesta. He can play in the pockets, he’s very mobile and very agile.

“He can beat a man and he’s good in combination play. The last few seasons he started to score important goals as well.”