Time was when Sir Alex Fergusen executed his tactics for Man United using the flanks, with players like David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and even Eric Cantona deployed basically as wingers during the glory days of the club.
Paul Scholes sat in front of the back-line of United and orchestrated play astutely. Alas, since Scholes called time on his career, United have lacked a creative player in his stead. However, Jesse Lingard has earned so much plaudit for his unprecedented rise and for his creativity, he’s been compared to the legendary Andres Iniesta.
Mourinho plays a more defensive tactics unlike Fergusen, and even though he uses wingers, the strength of his ideology is built on the midfield.
Suddenly, Lingard is now one of the favorites for Jose Mourinho and his barnstorming display at the World Cup only goes to justify his quality. Former Man United coach Rene Meulensteen had seen an Iniesta in Lingard and showed him how he could improve upon his game to that level.
“I told him, ‘You remind me of him and can be the English version,’” Meulensteen told MEN Sport. “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.”
Lingard was a bit-part player for Man United since the appointment of Jose Mourinho in the penultimate summer but he was able to dislodge the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata to a place in the first team squad.
He lacks the skills we see in Iniesta but he is gradually proving his mettle as a world class footballer.