Why the coming weeks will be crucial for Scott McTominay

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Manchester United’s 2017-18 Premier League campaign has reached it’s penultimate and decisive period. Jose’s men are fighting hard to attain the 2nd spot and are trying to add pressure on leaders Manchester City, which may seem a very daunting task with all the injuries and inconsistent performances coming from the United side, who are having difficulties in their engine room. With injuries to Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera, United are restricted to a midfield of Paul Pogba, Michael Carrick, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay.

Despite being in three competitions, namely, the Champions League knock-out stages, FA Cup quarter-finals and the Premier League, Jose will have to construct his midfield pivot around these available players. Fellaini is out for a couple of months, Herrera also injured for few weeks. With Ander’s on-going match fixing trial, it will be very difficult for him to concentrate on his game, when he returns, as it is psychologically difficult for a professional player to produce consistent displays when he has just shaken off an injury and has his mind running on a situation which threatens his career. Captain, Michael Carrick is set to retire at the end of the season and join the back-room staff. At 36, he is a mentor to the players, a leader and the most experienced player in the squad. But, given his age, it will be very difficult for him to maintain the required level of fitness in this pacey league. However, he is still fully committed and doesn’t disappoint whenever summoned on the pitch. This leaves us to our remaining and most obvious midfield three of, Pogba, Matic and McTominay. Matic has been a very important part of the team, becoming the anchor of the side in a holding midfield role. Pogba, on the other hand, is the more attacking minded option. But, given his recent performances his first priority will be to get back into the good books of the gaffer.

This leaves us with McTominay. The 21-year-old midfielder and academy graduate has been catching the eye of the manager and all the fans due to his recent good form. Due to all the injuries, the manager has put his faith in the young player. At 6”4, McTominay has got the physique of a perfect Mourinho player. His versatile qualities allow him to play anywhere in midfield and occasionally, also as an auxiliary striker, which he played in, during his time with the reserve squad. He can score, pass, has good pace and a genuine aerial threat due to his height. Having made a total of 15 appearances this season, starting 7 of them. He has the quality to reach the top and become a United great. Many personalities including, Mourinho, Sir Alex, who are giving rave reviews for the youngster, the latter also telling Jose to play him more often, which is looking more likely. Carrick has announced him as his successor and is determined to train, develop and mentor his apprentice even further, also given the fact that Carrick will be his coach next season.

McTominay played very well against Chelsea.


Scott has shown time and again that he has the tendency to control the game. His precision passing and excellent man-marking qualities are superb. That clearly showed during the recent victory against Chelsea, where he kept Eden Hazard at bay, just like Herrera did last season. However, he is still young and makes few mistakes, but that’s all in the process of becoming a top-class player. The only thing that will help him is more game time. With Herrera out and inconsistent, McTominay will definitely be the first-choice player in the starting XI, until Herrera and Fellaini return. But, given United’s midfield requirement and sole aim of creating a midfield around Pogba, who prefers to place in a three-man-midfield, McTominay will be the perfect choice to complete the trio, giving it a fair balance of attacking, defending and controlling the tempo of the playing style. McTominay will definitely instil positive energy during the match, and will also allow attacking freedom to Pogba, thus creating more chances. His vast versatility, composure, confidence and hard-work will be beneficial for United in the coming weeks. These qualities and his role in the squad will dictate the performances of his teammates as he will be the axis in the midfield. He will be a complete surprise package and wildcard in the coming days. Former u-23s boss Warren Joyce, who played a crucial part in developing McTominay said that he plays in a number 10 role but has got the physique, calmness and technical ability of a box-to-box midfielder. He also possesses, great strength and ball control even though he is tall. He will also fit into Jose’s policy of defending when out of possession and all out attack when the club have possession. Thus, shunning his park the bus style.

Things won’t get any easier for him yet. Because, there will be tremendous pressure on him to perform, as he may be drafted straight in the line-up due to the injuries to other first teamers and pressure to dictate the tempo of the game, as without him, Pogba will not get the support. There also comes the factor, that he has not yet represented a country at international level, and may be in line for an international debut very soon. Born in England, Scott is eligible to play for England and Scotland, and both the teams are fighting over his signature. Scotland boss, Alex McLeish and England boss Gareth Southgate are both interested in the prodigy. Sir Alex wants him to represent Scotland, but, Jose Mourinho wants him to develop under Gareth Southgate at England. There is a higher probability that he will choose Scotland over England as he will get more playing time and due to his current form, he may be drafted straight into the senior squad.

Mourinho has put all his faith in the youngster.


It was always clear that McTominay was in Jose’s plans and has his trust or by now he would have been loaned out like Andreas Pereira, Fosu-Mensah, Tuanzebe, Mitchell and others. Given Jose’s history with promoting and developing youth, Scott will change the stereotype by becoming a pioneer in Jose’s youth revolution at United. Jose publicly stated that the club will sign a top-class midfielder in the summer as, Fellaini could leave in the summer, Carrick will retire and Herrera’s inconsistent form. Should this happen, it will be clear that McTominay may not get that amount of game time which he is getting now.


To conclude, McTominay will be an integral part of the team and his performance will influence the form of the players around him. He will be a very crucial factor and will be in the spotlight of the manager who has put his full faith in him, and will be in the spotlight of the fans, media and national team scouts and managers.

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