Yup, it may be the strangest comparison you hear today, but Meulensteen insists he “saw so many similarities in their games” during his time at Old Trafford.
Iniesta is of course one of the most decorated players in the history of the game, winning eight La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues, the 2010 World Cup and the European Championship in both 2008 and 2012.
Meanwhile, 25-year-old Lingard is enjoying just his third season of regular first-team action at United.
We expect there to be a very select few who agree with Meulensteen’s comparison of the two players, but the Dutchman told Bleacher Report Lingard would “comfortably be able” to perform Iniesta’s role for Barcelona.
“I saw so many similarities in their games, and I always believed that Jesse was the English Andres Iniesta,” Meulensteen said.
“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.”
He added, “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.
“Jesse’s size held him back, but now it is actually an advantage, as he is light, agile and quick, and so opponents can’t live with him.”
Meulensteen spent 12 years at United, working in various roles under Sir Alex Ferguson.
What do you make of his comments?