Jesse Lingard has been amongst the players to have received the brunt of the criticism so far this season. Being largely deployed as a central attacking midfielder by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the academy graduate has been far from impressive in the spot and often his inadequacies have canceled out the brilliance of efforts from elsewhere on the pitch.
Thursday’s 2-1 loss to Astana saw him be the sole goalscorer for United and it was also the first time that he had scored since netting a sublime finish against Arsenal in the FA Cup way back in February.
Fans will be hoping that such displays spell out more positives from the 26-year-old and the player himself is optimistic.
Speaking to the Mirror, Lingard attributes his attitude to the sage words of a football legend, stating: “When I watched videos of Ronaldinho, he’s always smiling no matter what. It’s the love of the game. I remember meeting him in America a few years ago, he said to me: ‘No matter what, always enjoy football, always play with a smile on your face.’
“After that, I constantly do that. It’s mad watching videos of him, then actually meeting him and it felt mad for him to actually have that advice for me. You take that on board from one of the all-time greats.”
Lingard went on to add what that stance meant for him by stating: “Everyone who dreamed of being a footballer and is a footballer, our dreams are made and we’re in a nice position so all I can do is smile. Of course, you want to win the game but that enjoyment side is important.”
Fans will be desperate to see him back to a top-notch style of football as he is yet to achieve the performance potential that has been long attributed to him.