MANCHESTER UNITED are inadvertently being helped out by two footballing legends – Andres Iniesta and Ronaldinho.
The pair are widely regarded as two of the best players of their generation, winning everything there is to win in the game.
Brazilian star Ronaldinho lit up crowds throughout his career but is best known for his exploits wth Barcelona, where he won the Champions League and took a young Lionel Messi under his wing at the Nou Camp.
Then there is Iniesta, who won nine La Liga titles during his time with Barcelona, along with four Champions League titles, and is still playing today in Japan.
The two players are both World Cup winners and will be remembered for years to come – especially by Jesse Lingard.
The 25-year-old has come on leaps and bounds since returning to Old Trafford after loan spells at Leicester, Derby, Brighton and Birmingham.
He is now a key player under Jose Mourinho and is known for his big time football – notably because of goals scored in FA Cup finals and League Cup finals.
And it has been revealed that the midfielder watches YouTube videos of Iniesta and Ronaldinho in a bid to gain that extra edge.
Whether it be the silky skills of the Brazilian star, or Iniesta, who never seems to give the ball away and can pass a ball through the eye of a needle.
They are clips Lingard never tires of – and this goes beyond merely attempting Iniestas La Croqueta or Ronaldinhos elastico dribble.
“Football videos and things like that, music videos as well. They are the main things I watch on there,” he revealed when asked what he watches on YouTube.
It was former United coach Rene Meulensteen who sat Lingard down in the video analysis room at Carrington and talked him through Iniestas highlight reel many years ago.
“I told him, You remind me of him and can be the English version,’” the Dutchman previously said of Lingard.
“Coming between the lines, picking the ball up, turning the back line, those smart runs he possesses. And now he scores goals, too.
“Jesse could have easily been overlooked at another club because of his slight build – he was not the tallest or strongest – but everybody at United stayed patient with him. He was intelligent, had quick feet and a big heart.”
Ronaldinho, meanwhile, has left Lingard starstruck on the two occasions the pair have bumped into each other in Miami, and he certainly seems to be taking a leaf out of the two-time Ballon d’Or winner’s book.
Lingard has struggled with injury since lighting up the World Cup with England in the summer but looks to be getting back to his best.
A goal reminiscent of the one he scored against Panama in Russia was tucked away at Wembley against the USA last week and he netted the all important equaliser against Croatia on Saturday.
Jesse Lingard is following advice to model his game on Spanish legend Andres Iniesta, and has also revealed he enjoys watching clips of Brazilian great Ronaldinho.
The Manchester United forward was likened to Barcelona great Iniesta – now playing in Japan for Vissel Kobe – when he first emerged as a serious Premier League proposition.
Sir Alex Fergusons former Old Trafford No.2 Rene Meulensteen – who stepped down as Kerala Blasters boss in January – said: “I told him, You remind me of him and can be the English version. Coming between the lines, picking the ball up, turning the back line, those smart runs he possesses. And now he scores goals, too.”
That comparison may have raised eyebrows at the time, but the 25-year-old has established himself for club and country since, and still has an eye on midfield genius Iniesta for inspiration.
Lingard may irk some with his light-hearted approach to life, but asked what he watches on YouTube when relaxing, he told Inside United: “Football videos and things like that, music videos as well. They are the main things I watch on there. Clips of Ronaldinho, clips of Iniesta, I love things like that.”
The Warrington-born player – who went out on loan to Leicester, Birmingham, Brighton and Derby to stake his United claim – also follows the lead of non-footballing role models.
“I think there are good people around me at the moment and, obviously, there are people in different sports that I look up to,” he added. “LeBron James is doing well with the Lakers.”
“Im not really a book person, to be honest,” he said. “Marcus [Rashford] is trying to get me into some, though. He reads books. I cant remember what they are called, stuff about psychology.
Lingard scored in both of Englands last two games – against Croatia and the U.S. national team – after returning from injury earlier this season.
The former Barcelona and Brazil star has had his passport seized by a court in his homeland over failure to pay a fine for building on an environmental protection area.