Scotland manager Malkay Mackay has revealed that Scott McTominay turned down a senior international call-up in order to focus on progressing at Manchester United.
The 20-year-old made his Premier League debut on the final day of the 2016/17 campaign and impressed over pre-season.
And he has continued to make important steps this season, making his first start in both the Carabao Cup and the Champions League over October.
Speaking ahead of Scotland’s clash with the Netherlands, Malkay confirmed that McTominay – who grew up in England but considers himself Scottish – had not rejected them altogether and was instead focused on working hard at Man United.
“He’s not said he doesn’t want to play for Scotland,” he said.
“Scott at the moment wants to concentrate on his Man United career. That was as far as it went, I had one conversation and his dad was terrific on the phone.”
The Scotland national side has reached a level of such seismic underachievement that the next generation actually prefers to look the other way. I would probably do the same as McTominay here; I’d tell them I had an acute case of meningitis or something, just so I didn’t have to play with Robert Snodgrass.
On a serious note, however, McTominay deserves praise for having his priorities in order. He has made monumental steps under Jose Mourinho and that, above anything, will be what advances his career and moulds him into a hardened professional.
McTominay finds himself tantalisingly on the cusp of breaching Mourinho’s side, with performances against Swansea and Benfica further affirming the consensus that he can be counted on to move the ball forward with purpose and precision against established professionals. And you can see that, for all the natural poise about his game, various aspects can still improve tenfold with more time around the first team.