Marcus Rashford will understandably steal the headlines after his sensational double guided Manchester United to a 2-1 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The youngster calmly scored a penalty ahead of scoring one of the best free kicks you will ever see with 20 minutes left to send Man United into the quarter-finals.
Sitting behind him, though, was the real hero of the game – a man whose power and sheer relentlessness gave United a platform to win the game.
Enter, Scott McTominay.
Scott McTominay’s game by numbers vs. Chelsea:
81% pass accuracy
5 tackles won
3/4 long balls
4 fouls won
Quality. ???????????? pic.twitter.com/I92ourVKkd
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) October 30, 2019
The numbers don’t really do it justice. For every loose ball or dangerous situation, McTominay was there, ready for a piece of it, and usually getting plenty.
Midfielders need to have a presence. Jose Mourinho, McTominay’s biggest fan, was a big believer in this. The midfielder has to exude strength and control – without boiling over.
At Stamford Bridge, McTominay was the alpha dog of the midfield battle, looking bigger than everyone in a literal and indeed figurative sense. The intelligence with which he pressed and closed down space in behind him was the sign of a player assuming a senior role.
Mourinho may have been wrong about a lot of things at Old Trafford, but he knows a player when he sees one. McTominay – make no mistake – is a player.