Scott McTominay has been one of the resurgence stories of the season.
The Scot came back from the wilderness to score a late double at Brentford and has since become a regular fixture in the first team.
However, he has mainly been used as a box-crasher instead of a conventional midfielder. It is a role where he has provided United with even more important goals.
Still, that has come at a huge cost to their possession balance which was most glaring in the limp loss against Newcastle.
While United finished the game with only 42% possession, McTominay touched the ball just 30 times across the match which finished in over 100 minutes. (Courtesy of sofascore)
For context and comparison, Bruno Fernandes, who plays further forward and rarely got a chance to get United’s attack going, had 64.
Kobbie Mainoo was subbed off 20 minutes before the final whistle when United started dominating the ball, and he still finished with 46 touches.
This confirms what was already known about McTominay. The Scot is a flawed and limited player who is in the team to serve a specific purpose which is to hide a bigger flaw of the team.
Because United have no ball-retainers and a discernible style of play they often score through individual brilliance or just by sheerly overloading the box with numbers.
Latter is where McTominay becomes crucial. He leaves the buildup regularly, doesn’t show for the ball, and instead runs into the box hoping for a blind ball played in the box hoping to find a United shirt.
He comes alive due to his positioning and anticipation to score a goal but in reality, he is not fixing United’s flaws, only masking them.
If United are not bossing possession, they might as well play with 10 men in the team, because McTominay has truly become the modern-day Marouane Fellaini.
He’s more refined, but in terms of serving a specific role, the similarities are uncanny.