The 22-year-old came on in United’s 3-0 win against Rooney’s former club Everton, in which the England and United captain scored his first goal away from home in 11 months.
He has been drawing criticism recently from many United fans and neutrals alike, but Lingard says he massively influences the team in the dressing room and his impact on the club in recent years has been huge.
“He might not seem it but he’s a bubbly character,” Lingard said.
“He goes to each group like the foreigners and youngsters and has chats with everybody and tries to help everyone.
“He’s a world-class player. We see it in training every day. He’s got goals – he’s always got goals. He’s the captain and he leads the team. He sets a great example and I follow him.
“I see him as a friend now. I’ve been around him most years coming through the ranks. When I was in the Under-18s I started mixing with the first team and I saw him about. Even then he still helped me along the way as he does now.
“We have lots of quality players, but he’s scored a lot of goals for the club and has helped Manchester United get where we are today.”
Lingard has had to be patient for chances at United, with his 45 minutes against Everton his first appearance in the first team at United since August 2014, Louis van Gaal‘s first game as manager.
Yet he has experienced Rooney’s impact on young players like him, and the dressing room and the club as a whole for the past five years or so, coming through the ranks as part of the side that won the FA Youth Cup in the 2010/11 season, who have been helped by Rooney in his captain’s role, and followed his example on the pitch.
Rooney may not be in his best run of form, with just two Premier League goals this season from nine games. Yet he is one of the Man United greats and is quickly closing in on Sir Bobby Charlton’s record of 249 goals for the club, having already become England’s all-time top goalscorer.