Scott McTominay has explained why is it is important for any young player to come out of his shell and find his voice when entering a dressing room full of seasoned internationals.
The midfielder has made the breakthrough at Manchester United and been trusted in some high-profile games of late, earning plenty of plaudits from manager Jose Mourinho. Having been with the club since the age of nine, he feels his education at the Academy helped prepare him to make the huge step into the first team. Having the backing of the boss has been vital for the 21-year-old, who has been called into the Scotland squad for the first time this week.
“Obviously, there are numerous different factors that have contributed in terms of my development but the main one is Jose Mourinho,” he said.
“He's had the faith to put me in for important matches and trusted me in really big games. So all credit goes to him. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have had chances to play and show people I'm hopefully capable of being a Manchester United player in the future.
"There's nothing better for me than being selected in the big games. The Champions League game at Sevilla, the Champions League game before that, Liverpool, Chelsea and even the other cup games as well. It's really good for me to be trusted by the manager. I hope to repay him as he's done really well to push me forward.
While it cannot be easy as a youngster attempting to make his mark in the group, the 21-year-old outlined in an exclusive in-depth interview with the latest edition of Inside United just why he has been able to bed in so effectively.
Luke Shaw recently revealed McTominay has been becoming more talkative in the changing rooms, and Scott said:
“Yes, I think that’s the prime thing when you’re settling in. You just have to weigh it all up and be careful what you say, and you have to see who’s saying what. But, eventually, the lads just take you in anyway and you’re part of a big family and banter’s flying. So it’s a good environment to be in.”
Shaw also said his colleague was showing leadership qualities, even at his young age, and this is clearly an important attribute in any player operating in midfield.
“Well that’s what you want to be as a midfield player, in the heart of the pitch,” added McTominay.
“You want to be the guy who’s helping every other player in the team out, and hopefully pushing the team forwards and winning as many games as possible. You’ve seen Axel Tuanzebe as captain of the Reserves and I feel like Axel has those traits as well.
“That’s a big thing as a youth-team player who goes into the first team, you shouldn’t be shy about telling a more senior player what to do. If you think that’s what he should be doing then tell him. And, if he doesn’t, then you speak about it afterwards and you have a mutual respect for each other that stays off the pitch; when you’re on the pitch you do the best for the team.
"All the young players, they’re not shy and they’re not worried about saying what they think. It’s a benefit for the team. If you’re a shy player in your shell then the team’s probably not going to progress with you in it. So you have to be like that and it’s a big asset to the team leadership.
Read the six-page exclusive interview with cover star Scott McTominay in the latest edition of Inside United. Also included is a look at Romelu Lukaku's goalscoring milestone, Victor Lindelof meeting Manchester Storm and a recap of the five finest comebacks in the Premier League.