Sir Alex Ferguson‘s advice should provide Erik ten Hag with more proof that Scott McTominay should be a major player in his team.
Since graduating from the club’s academy in 2017, the Scottish midfielder has been a regular for the Red Devils. He began the season as a first-choice midfielder for Ten Hag, starting five of their first six Premier League games.
But since the shambles at Manchester City, McTominay has found himself relegated to the bench in both the top flight and the Europa League. Instead, Casemiro and Christian Eriksen have become the starting pair for Ten Hag, with United going on a six-game unbeaten run since McTominay was dropped.
Ten Hag could be persuaded to hand McTominay more game-time though, in light of comments from Ferguson that have re-emerged. Speaking ahead of Euro 2020, the legendary boss hailed the midfielder as he praised Scotland’s team.
“I look at the midfield players and I think they are as good as anyone, players playing in England. And McTominay is now emerging as one of Man United’s big players. When you watch Man United pick a team for a big game, McTominay is in it,” Ferguson said.
“Good character, great trainer, I know a little bit about the boy. I signed him when he was seven or eight. He was actually a center-forward as a kid. He has sprouted, a little bit like Darren (Fletcher) when he first came.
“McTominay is a similar type as Darren, long, lanky, good winner of the ball, good turn of pace going forward, great attitude to the game. It’s really rewarding for me to see a Scott coming through.”
Despite dropping him to the bench, Ten Hag has shown himself to be a huge fan of the 25-year-old. Ahead of the derby defeat to City, the Dutchman hailed McTominay for keeping Casemiro out of the team.
“I said already before, it had nothing to do with Casemiro, it was all to do with Scott because, when you look at Brentford, he wasn’t in the team [and] we lose. Then [from] the day that Casemiro signed, we played six games and we won five,” he said.
And, in five games, he [McTominay] played. In one game, he didn’t, and that was against [Real] Sociedad [a 1-0 loss]. So, for me, that was logical [to play McTominay] because it’s competition in the team.
“It wasn’t an option for me [not to play him].” He played incredibly well, grew really well, and it had nothing to do with Casemiro, but I’m confident Casemiro will play a big role.”
McTominay has only played 24 minutes in United’s last two Premier League games, going on as a late substitute in both matches against Tottenham and Chelsea. He’ll be hoping for more playing time when West Ham visits Old Trafford on Sunday, with the Red Devils potentially able to climb into the top four if they win.