Scott's fans' conference: The full Q&A

Tuesday 20 December 2022 16:00

Scott McTominay has addressed questions from Manchester United supporters at Carrington on Tuesday morning, in a specially arranged fans' conference ahead of the Carabao Cup clash with Burnley.

Here's everything that our homegrown midfielder had to say...

Elliot Mullen, ST holder aged 12: Hi Scott, how much training have you been doing during the World Cup and do you think it will be harder to get back playing?
"Obviously, for us, it's a very different year in terms of the World Cup and things that have been going on. Some of us have had a break and some of us have been training and some of us were at the World Cup. It's just great to get everyone back together and, in this day and age with football, you've got to be fit and athletic and you can't really have too much time off. So if you are away you do have to train as well. So when everyone comes back, they're pretty much ready to train again and the games come really quick."

Jacky Brown, Gloucester & Cheltenham SC: How has the squad found the winter break and the training camp in terms of preparing you for the season ahead?
"Of course, Jacky. It's a difficult one for us, to be honest, as we've never had this and never had a chance to see how the programme works when there's a World Cup in the middle of our winter. For us, it's been tough but as I say, we've got a chance to see a lot of the younger players when we were away in Spain and they've done exceptionally well. I know what it's like whenever you're coming up to the first team and there's a lot of experienced players. It can be daunting at times but they've done incredibly well and, for a squad, it's good to have everyone back now. We've had a lot of players who have come back. Obviously, Raphael and Licha will be the last ones back and they've done so, so well. And congratulations to Lisandro for winning the World Cup. We're looking forward to having them back, we can't wait."

Gareth Hilton, Sir Alex Ferguson Stand boxholder: Hi Scott. A lot of younger players got the chance to go to Spain. Which ones stood out to you and what advice would you give them in trying to follow your path to the first team?
"We must've had 15 of the so-called younger boys come away with us. And it's good to get them integrated into the team. The ones who stood out is pretty much all of them because it's not easy coming into a first-team group where you've got to train so well, but we've got so many good players in the first team who can help them and stuff like that. Your older experienced players, your goalkeepers for a start: David, Tom Heaton and Martin Dubravka have helped a lot of the younger boys integrate into the squad. I feel like now, when they go away to Spain, they come back and train with us here, they feel so much more comfortable. We had some great times in Spain. We had them all singing in the group and they loved it. That's part and parcel of getting integrated into the first team. I had to do it. Everyone has to do that, and it helps them. It brings them out of their shell and gives them more confidence when they come and train with us."

Scott McTominay's Fans' Conference Video

Scott McTominay's Fans' Conference

Scott McTominay has held a very special conference with United supporters from all around the world...

Cass Hyde, Rainbow Devils: With five games over the next two-and-a-half weeks and players returning from the World Cup how challenging will that be and when do we expect to have everyone back available?
“As I say, it’s difficult for us to say when everyone is back and available but, in this day and age, with football, the amount of run of games you have, like you say, there are so many matches. For us, the lads who are coming back from the World Cup will have some time off and be pretty much ready to train again. They’re still fit, it’s not like they haven’t trained for a month or month and a half. The ones who have had two-three weeks’ holiday in this period are the ones who have to be fit and the manager said when we left, make sure whoever is going, when you come back from holiday, make sure you’re fit and ready for training. Everybody has and everybody has been brilliant.”

Laura Dutton, East Stand boxholder: Considering Burnley's current position as the Championship league leaders, do you anticipate tomorrow's game being a difficult game?
“I think every time we’ve played Burnley, over the years, it’s been difficult. Now their style has changed a little bit with the manager and all the rest of it that goes on behind the scenes. For us, we will prepare as we normally do. We’ve got a lot of players coming back which we’re so happy about, and I’m sure the manager will be as well, and, obviously for us, it’s another step, a step to get to the quarter-finals. So, for us, it’s an opportunity to go towards end of the season and win a trophy. Burnley are a good team so we know what we have to do.”

William Lomas, Centennial Suite: When the game is finished, do you listen to the TV pundits’ view and, if so, does it have much of an impact on you and the team?
“No, I feel like it’s difficult to be completely away from opinions and all the rest of it on TV but I feel like you’d be a fool if you sat in front of the TV after one of the games to listen to everything they’ve said. The only people’s opinions that matter are the manager, the coaches and your family, stuff like that. Whatever happens on TV and in the media, whoever says what, you just have to take it on board and not get too high when you do well, and not get too low when you don’t do so well. I feel like it’s a good one for younger kids growing up: make sure the only opinion that matters is yourself. You know when you’re playing well, or not, or just not doing enough, we all do. As long as you keep doing all the right things consistently, hard work does catch up with good timing. That’s what I always go off.”

Nik Basran. Sir Alex Ferguson Stand boxholder: There are great things about it but what is the hardest thing about being a professional footballer in this day and age?
“Obviously, we travel a lot and are away from our families, away from our friends a lot. That’s difficult but, as time goes on, you get used to it and they begin to get used to it. It makes the moments when you go home to see them a lot more special. I feel like I’ve got used to it, going away in the summer for two-three weeks and going away, twice a week, into hotels and stuff like that. So there’s not really a negative side towards it, I love my job and always have loved football. My dad always said to me as a kid: ‘If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, son, then don’t do it’. Up until this point, I’ve always enjoyed it and that’s the way I look at it.”

Mohamad Safran, Kerala SC: You have played in much more of an attacking role in your days in the Academy. Now you play in midfield for the first team at the same time you play much more as a defender for your national team. May I ask you how this transition has worked in your career.? How do you feel about different roles managers ask you to play? And what position do you think can bring the best out of yourself?
“Obviously, when you’re a bit younger, I mean Warren Joyce, who I’m sure many of you will know him, he was so influential when I was younger. He said to me for two games, do you want to play up front and I was like: ‘Yeah, no problem’. That’s what he asked and I said no problem. I scored and he said I quite like you up front and I was like: ‘I don’t!’ After that, I played one more game, three in total, and was then back in midfield. With Scotland, I’ve played a mixture, pretty much half as a right-sided centre-half and half as a midfielder. Managers are always coming to you with different ideas against different styles of player, can you do this and that? If I said no, well they’d say we need players who can do things like that. As I say, I’m open to pretty much everything but I am a midfielder.”

John Fitzgibbon, West Limerick SC: You’ve gone from strength to strength since breaking into the first team, illustrated recently by captaining the side again in a friendly game. Not your first time captaining the side, a credit to yourself. Is the possibility of becoming the captain of the side something you have considered in your future?
“Yeah, I mean that’s part of my character. I’ve always been one who likes to say it how it is. I don’t shy away from a little bit of responsibility, even when it was given to me in the younger age groups. Our captain is brilliant at the moment, Harry Maguire, and Bruno and David are extremely experienced players in the squad, Raphael Varane as well. So many guys have been there and done that with so many things in their career so I am looking at them and want to emulate what they are doing, and obviously learn from them. If that opportunity arises in the future, you never know where it can take you, but, at the minute, we’ve got a great squad and a great captain as well.”

What Licha said to Scott after his World Cup win


Martinez's message to McTominay just showcases the elite mentality within this United squad.

Rick Clement, MUDSA: From a fans’ point of view there seems to be a big difference in the approach and the discipline this year. Is that a fair reflection and, if so, what has changed under the new manager and staff?
“Of course, whenever a new manager comes in, the people in the stadium, especially with the manager we’ve got now, are going to be so happy and are going to love seeing the football we’re playing. We’ve had some amazing games at Old Trafford this year, where they literally are the heartbeat of the entire place. It’s electric and, of course, listening to it and I don’t care what anyone says, you do listen to the crowd when you’re playing. You can hear them, pushing you and pushing you, it makes such a difference. In the big games we’ve had this year, Arsenal and Liverpool for example, they are massive games, and we have needed that extra push sometimes when the lads have been a little bit tired and it’s difficult. Obviously, the fans do play a massive part.”

Mohammad Yassin, Egypt SC: Old Trafford does feel different this year, more intimidating and the loudest it’s been for so long, so are the players picking up on that and does it add to the belief in what the manager is trying to do with you and what he is trying to achieve?
“I feel like the managers and the coaches are the ones saying give the crowd what they want, give the people something to lift them off their seats. Make sure you are doing everything that is beneficial to bringing the crowd with us on the journey. It’s important we listen to that, most definitely. Even before games, we can hear the crowd. Sometimes, before, even when we’re putting on our socks and shinpads, you can feel a great atmosphere building in the stadium. For us, it’s the most important thing. Some of the guys have even stopped to say listen to what we have to go out to here, we have to perform and give them what they want. I think, for us, it’s one of the most important things. We’ve got the best fans in the world – home and away – that’s for sure.”

Bjarte Valen, Scandinavian SC: I was going to ask you what the first seven months with the new manager have been like and how is Erik different to the managers you’ve played with at United before...
“Yeah, the first seven months have been different. Whenever we were with the new manager in pre-season there were a lot of different things that we weren’t used to and as time goes on you begin to learn his process and how he prepares for games. It’s been brilliant. His coaches are brilliant, obviously we’ve got Mitchell, Eric Ramsey, Darren Fletcher, Steve McClaren. They’re all a really good group and a good blend in terms of getting the best out of the players. I feel like we’ve seen that with numerous amounts of players in the first team. The improvement we’ve seen in a lot of us has been good. For us, it’s important we keep listening. Game by game we’ve got to take it as it comes and keep pushing forwards.”

Fans are the heartbeat of Old Trafford


Scott McTominay says the players often discuss the atmosphere building up to kick-off.

Jon Doherty, East Stand Boxholder: How good was Ederson’s assist that day (against Manchester City) and how good did it feel when that ball hit the back of the net?
“Yeah, I think that’s something that I’ll never forget and obviously I want to do it again. I want moments like that again and obviously for us that day was probably one of the craziest days of my life, in terms of the fans. I was actually doing an interview and I could hear the fans singing as I was doing it. It really hit home that day. I went home and I was like ‘wow, that was crazy’. I’ve never seen an atmosphere like it – in my short career anyway – and that’s all thanks to you lot.”

Wai Chung, Hong Kong: In the last Carabao Cup match against Villa, you scored a brilliant goal with a sensational assist from Garnacho. Do you expect you will score more goals as a midfielder in the “second half” of the season? And on a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate Garnacho’s prospects in becoming a star player for United?
“I’ll go to the first question first. I should score more goals. The manager has actually spoken to me about that and shown me little clips and little ways I can be more effective in the game: making assists, scoring goals. If you do certain little details, then you can get yourself in those positions more often. I know that I can do it. I’ve always liked to fancy myself that I can score goals and stuff like that, so it’s important I keep practising and whenever the manager speaks to you, you’ve obviously got to listen and take it all on board. It’s really good information that he’s giving you. He’s like that with a lot of players, where he’ll sit them down and speak through clips of games – doing this, how you can influence this. Loads of fine little details that can help players and obviously give them confidence, putting his time into us, personally and not just in a group scenario.

“It’s a difficult one to say with Garnacho. He’s a hell of a footballer and obviously for me if he keeps his feet on the ground and keeps learning and keeps wanting to work hard then he can do what he wants in football. He’s such a talented player and for us we’ve got to keep him humble and keep him working hard as well.”

Dave Roylance, Premier Suite: You are 26 now so entering the prime years of your career. What do you want to achieve in the next five years and what would success look like to you?
“It’s a good question. I feel like the prime years in football are – it depends on how you look after yourself – but from 26 to 32, in my opinion anyway. I feel like the games going that way with the longevity and stuff like that. Success will always be winning trophies and that’s the most important thing at this football club. With the manager that we’ve got now we’ve got a really good opportunity to start that journey, especially this year. We’ve got a really good chance to implement ourselves and really start pushing. I feel like this is the year where we can go for it and that’s firmly reiterated by all the coaches in the squad. They firmly believe that. I messaged Lisandro the other day and said congratulations and he said ‘we go for the next one’. He’s just won a World Cup, so that shows the mentality that is in the group.”

Corey Mullen, ST holder aged 10: What has been the best moment of your career so far? Your debut, the goal against City or something else?
“All of them are so special to me, I’ll never forget all of them. I’d probably just say seeing my family happy, watching them smile and seeing them come to games. Every time I get home and I see the smile on my mum’s face; she loves it. That’s the most a son could do, in my opinion anyway. I just love seeing how happy they are. My grandparents in Scotland watch every game and most definitely every week that’s the best thing I could have.”