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Scott McTominay has deserved his chance ahead of Casemiro

Eriksen's presence has meant the Scot can purely focus on breaking up play

by Ayantan Chowdhury

After a disastrous last season, changes were expected at Manchester United, both in terms of personnel and playing style with Erik ten Hag charged with leading the club out of this rut and into the light.

After only three additions and two comprehensive defeats to kick-off the new Premier League season, Ten Hag was said to be furious with the lack of backing from the club hierarchy.

The midfield was identified as a point of particular concern with the players in that position deemed not good enough to carry forward Ten Hag’s plans.

Casemiro’s struggles or Scott’s brilliance?

United were forced into action and they ended up paying an initial £60 million for midfield enforcer Casemiro after their failure to land long-term target Frenkie de Jong.

It was expected that the Brazilian would slot straight into the team alongside Fred and in place of the much-maligned Scott McTominay.

But the Scot has found an extra gear in his play and has managed to keep the former Real Madrid man out of the team for three games running with Casemiro managing only played 51 minutes across his three substitute appearances.

Ten Hag has been quick to point out the rationale behind his decision-making. “He is new, he has to adapt to the team,” Ten Hag said to Sky Sports before the victory over Arsenal on Sunday. “He has to get used to my way of playing football. The other thing, Scott McTominay is playing really well.”

The Scottish international has always divided the fanbase.

“To some, he is “McSauce” or “McDominate” — the brave and ambitious homegrown academy prospect who brings much-needed energy and aggression to United’s midfield and could one day be captain material.

“To others, McTominay’s naivety when receiving and passing the ball is a hindrance and his physicality is often misguided,” Carl Anka wrote in his article for The Athletic.

How Scott has kept out Casemiro

The truth lies somewhere in between. Yes, he has his limitations in terms of ball-playing ability but with the addition of Christian Eriksen, he has managed to just stick to his role as a destroyer, something he is far more adept at.

His height and ability to use his physicality during aerial and ground duels has added to his importance to Ten Hag’s plans, who prefers to stick to a winning formula as the on-field connections start becoming automatic.

And the Dutch manager has already mentioned how he plans to use the entire squad and anybody from the bench can come up and secure their place in the first-team, something that will be music to the ears of the Brazil international.

Scott McTominay may one day make way for Casemiro in the starting line-up, but there is a method to the Manchester United man’s repeated selection,” Anka succintly summed it up.


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