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Man Utd star Lingard reveals Ronaldinho advice that has helped shape his career

14:02 EAT 30/11/2019
Ronaldinho Jesse Lingard
The England international has revealed that a legendary Ballon d'Or winner told him to always "play with a smile" when they met a few years ago

Jesse Lingard has revealed that Ronaldinho has advised him to "always enjoy football", which has helped him maintain a positive attitude through some difficult moments at Manchester United.

Lingard rose through the youth ranks at Old Trafford before graduating to the senior squad in 2011, and has since racked up 183 appearances for the club across all competitions.

The attacking midfielder didn't become a regular in United's starting line-up overnight, though, with loan spells at Leicester, Birmingham, Brighton and Derby taken in before he made his breakthrough in the 2015-16 season.

Lingard has helped the Red Devils win four major trophies, including the FA Cup and Europa League, while also earning a place in the England squad.

However, it has been suggested that the 26-year-old has not quite been able to live up to his potential at Old Trafford, with his numbers for goals and assists falling well below the required standard.

Lingard hasn't started a Premier League game since the end of October, but did return to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's line-up as captain in a Europa League defeat away at Astana on Thursday.

Despite being targeted for criticism on a number of occasions this year, Lingard has learned to block out any negativity and remain upbeat at all times on the pitch - having been advised to do so by former Barcelona superstar Ronaldinho.

"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'," he told the  Daily Mirror.

"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.

"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."

The Red Devils have slipped to ninth in the Premier League this term, picking up just four wins from their opening 13 fixtures.

Solskjaer's side look destined to miss out on a place in the Champions League once again unless results pick up quickly, but could still fight for silverware in the Europa League, Carabao Cup and FA Cup.

Lingard went on to express his own desire to win another trophy , insisting there have been positive signs of progress at the start of the 2019-20 campaign.

"For my club, my ambition is definitely a trophy," he added. "We've worked so hard last season and this season we started off well.

"A trophy is in our sights and we have to concentrate on winning a trophy, getting that winning feeling by lifting a trophy."

Next up for United is a home clash against Aston Villa on Sunday, before they welcome Jose Mourinho's Tottenham to Old Trafford three days later.