McTominay's advice for our fledgling graduates
Trusting in youth is a thread that runs right through Manchester United’s history and Academy graduates continue to impress when given a chance in the first-team.
Tahith Chong, James Garner and Mason Greenwood have all made first-team debuts under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the last year.
Brandon Williams joined that group when he replaced Phil Jones at half-time in the Carabao Cup tie against Rochdale in September.
After contributing to Greenwood’s opening goal, Williams’ encouraging performance convinced the boss to play him from the start in last week’s UEFA Europa League clash with AZ Alkmaar – and the 19-year-old once again caught the eye of fans and team-mates alike.
“I thought he did brilliantly,” said Scott McTominay, who knows what it takes to make the transition from Academy to first team.
“I said to him before the game to just be himself and told him he had nothing to worry about.
“I told him to go and play the game like it was a Reserves match or he was playing in the park with his mates… you don’t want to think too much about it, you just need to go out, express yourself, show what you can do and that’s what he did.”
The Reds were held to a goalless draw in the Hague, with the home side having the better of the opportunities in a cagey game.
However, Williams' mature showing in the Netherlands saw him nominated for the Man of the Match award, claiming the second-highest number of votes on our Official App, after goalkeeper and captain David De Gea.
“Obviously, we didn’t create as many chances as we hoped but we still got a point away from home and didn’t concede again so they’re positives we can take,” added McTominay, who came on as a late substitute at the Cars Jeans Stadium.
“And, of course, Brandon was a big, big plus and I’m very pleased for him. To have a game like that this early in his career is great.”
Williams was rewarded for his start to the season with the Under-23s with a call-up to England’s Under-20 squad in September, along with Angel Gomes.
He is involved in Paul Simpson’s set-up once again for matches against Italy (tonight) and Czech Republic (Monday), and McTominay believes the local lad just needs to maintain his progress and the recognition will keep coming.
“He just needs to concentrate on how he’s performing on the pitch and listen to Ole and the coaches and I’m sure they’ll be pleased with him.”
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