Scott McTominay always had his heart set on playing for Scotland, according to England manager Gareth Southgate.
The Three Lions boss wished McTominay well in his future international career after speculation over which country the Manchester United midfielder would represent was effectively ended in the last few days.
21-year-old McTominay is eligible for both England and Scotland, but the latter have seemed to beat their rivals to his future, calling him up for friendlies this month.
Southgate insisted that England had no intention of bringing McTominay, who has had a fantastic first season of first team football, into the first team squad, but were focused on adding him to their under-21 ranks.
“Discussions with our development teams have been going on with Scott for a few months,” Southgate revealed in conversation with BBC Radio 5 Live.
“It wasn’t so much on the senior radar because I’m always conscious of what would that have meant for Harry Winks, for Lewis Cook, for Nathaniel Chalobah, who have been in our system all the way through.”
Though Southgate had no plans for immediate senior call-up for McTominay, he did speak to him. At no point did the young midfielder indicate a desire to play for England.
“But he’s playing well and we’re always keen to speak to players who might fit into our system at some level,” Southgate continued.
“What became apparent before I had the chance to speak with him in particular, I was going to Manchester United anyway, he had made his mind up that Scotland were keen for him to play for them and he feels Scottish.
“You have to absolutely respect that decision. I think international football has to be decision of the heart so we wish him well with that.”
McTominay’s decision is the right one. For those who have seen him progress through United’s ranks, it has always been fairly clear from what he has said previously that he would elect to play for Scotland if giving the choice.
Due to rapid growth issues, McTominay’s development took a hit in the exact age where he would be earning call=ups for international youth football. That means he wasn’t embedded in either set up.
Now, though, he’s earned the trust of Jose Mourinho at United and the speculation is behind him.