The 20-year-old featured in the final five match-day squads of Man United’s 2016/17 Premier League campaign and featured against Arsenal and Crystal Palace.
He continued to turn heads with a series of enterprising midfield displays during United’s pre-season tour over the summer, netting his first senior goal against Valerenga.
And McTominay, speaking ahead of the clash with Nigel Clough’s side, called on Mourinho to hand him another chance to prove his worth.
“It’s crazy when you think back all them years to when you’re five years old going to the development centre, and then going all the way through the ranks,” he said.
“It honestly is a dream come true for me to be playing in the first team, and playing against teams like Real Madrid.
“But obviously you just want more and more of that and that is the main thing for my career: to be playing in them big games, in competitive games and just do my best and hopefully see where it takes me.
Marcus and Jesse are such role models to me because they were late developers like I am,’ said McTominay, who used to share No 10 duties with Rashford at Under-16 level. Not everybody is born at 16 years old ready to go straight into the Premier League and they’re physically ready.
“At 16 years old, I was like a really young boy and it takes time for boys to blossom and that is why this club was so patient with me. Not every single boy is physically capable of going and playing in the Premier League at such a young age.
“Michael Keane is another one, a brilliant example, who is doing so well now. He was struggling when he was 18. He was growing, he was changing.
“You can’t tell anything in football until it is done. The 20-year-old says playing the likes of Real Madrid is a dream come true but he wants more.
“I still personally think I’ve got a long way to go with my physique, I am still quite slim. I am not the finished article physically. Nowhere near. But you just have to keep working hard every day and hopefully improve on all that and see how it goes.”
There is something about McTominay’s approach that has caught Mourinho’s eye. The Scot brings to the table an honest, hardworking, bold style, placing emphasis on shifting play forward, but there is something more subtle – and indeed valuable – to his game: his positioning.
Footballers are judged by what they do on the ball but that only constitutes half of the overall story. The positions they take up when the camera isn’t on them is just as crucial. And McTominay, as seen over pre-season, possesses a superb knack for floating into space unnoticed, always ready to break through the lines.
There is something almost intuitive about it. He never looks unhinged. And supporters will hope to see him line-up alongside Michael Carrick as United begin their defence of the League Cup.