Despite missing at least five games through injury, Scott McTominay played an incredible 3,424 minutes of football in 2020/21, scoring seven goals and providing two assists.
Set in a double-defensive pivot with Fred, the naturally box-to-box Scotsman has had to learn to sit in front of the defence and curb his natural attacking instincts.
‘McSauce’ put in some memorable performances this season, including a powerhouse display against Paris St Germain in the Champions League, a world class performance in the crushing of Leeds United, game-changing outings against Watford and West Ham and, most notably, he was United’s best player in the Europa League final.
Yet the jury is still out on McTominay, with many seeing him as a squad player rather than strong enough to be a regular first team player. Here is The Peoples Person’s review of his recent season.
SofaScore Stats (Premier League):
Frequent invisibility: The 24-year-old can put in performances like those mentioned above, but they are few and far between. He needs to be able to maintain that level for at least 50% of matches, not 10%.
Lightweight: McTominay doesn’t have the strength on the ball of, say, Paul Pogba, nor the strength in the tackle of Nemanja Matic. A successful defensive midfielder needs at least one of those attributes and preferably both.
Lack of creativity: The lack of defensive grit could be overlooked to some extent if it was compensated by some killer, defence-splitting passes or silky skills. But at 24 years of age, it is hard to see that Scott will ever be able to add too much of that to his arsenal.
Big game player: The fact that McTominay was United’s man of the match in the Europa League final speaks volumes for his ability to rise to the occasion. This is a hugely important attribute for any footballer.
Would die for the badge: The 24-year-old oozes passion for the club and desire to make United great again. That is another attribute that money simply cannot buy.
Model professional: It’s hard to imagine any kind of negative publicity about the Academy graduate, in terms of either lifestyle or in terms of his relationship with the coaching staff. He comes across as a hard-working, consummate professional.
What to Expect Next Season
At 24, there is still room for McTominay to improve but consistency will be key. Whether he continues to be a regular first team starter could depend on summer transfers. If a specialist holding midfielder is not signed, we fully expect Scott to get in double figures next season and put in more of those trademark MOTM performances.
At best, world class. But that best has to be demonstrated much, much more often.