Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay has been called up to the senior Scotland squad for the first time.
The 21-year-old has been named in Alex McLeish’s first squad since he was appointed Scotland manager for a second time, for friendly matches against Costa Rica and Hungary later this month.
Scott, who has been associated with the Reds since the age of five, was born in Lancaster but qualifies for Scotland as his father is from Glasgow.
He could make his international debut when the Tartan Army take on Costa Rica at Hampden Park on Friday 23 March, before travelling to Budapest to face Hungary four days later.
WHY SCOTT DESERVES HIS CALL-UP
His inclusion in the 27-man roster, which was announced on Monday morning, is recognition for an impressive first season with the Reds, since being promoted to Jose Mourinho’s first-team squad. It also seemingly ends speculation about his international future, as he is also eligible to play for England.
After stepping up from the Reserves towards the end of last season, McTominay made his debut as a substitute against Arsenal in May last year and started the Reds' final league game of 2016/17 against Crystal Palace.
He was then part of the squad for Tour 2017, presented by Aon, and scored his first senior goal in the 3-0 friendly win over Valerenga in Norway.
McTominay has been a regular in the squad this term and has made 16 appearances for United in all competitions so far in 2017/18. He has also started the last five games for the Reds, including Saturday's 2-1 win over Liverpool at Old Trafford.
His impressive displays and intelligence on the ball in the engine room have caught the eye and he received a deserved nomination for his first Player of the Month award in February, which was arguably the best month of his career to date.
HIGH PRAISE FROM THE BOSS
Mourinho has previously joked that Scotland boss McLeish should select McTominay before England do and recently revealed that he had offered his advice to the Academy graduate about which country he should represent.
The boss has been full of praise for the youngster’s mature performances of late – including in huge games against Chelsea, in the Premier League, and Sevilla, in what was only his second start in the UEFA Champions League.
Speaking after the victory over Chelsea recently, he said of McTominay:
“I think he's a fantastic player – a player that is what I call the modern midfield player, which in the end is a bit of what the top midfield players of the past were. They can do everything.”
He went on:
“The only thing he is not doing yet is scoring goals, which he can. But because I'm giving him different jobs, he's not yet free to do that. We are starting from the basics and the basics he's doing wonderfully well.
”I think he can also score goals – he has that talent. In pre-season, we understood that. But we are adapting him to his multi-functionality and he's doing fantastic jobs for us, so I'm really happy with the player.
'I SAW SCOTT'S PASSION'
Scotland boss Alex McLeish said he included McTominay in the squad after being convinced by his passion to play for the Tartan Army.
”Scott was very receptive,
“ McLeish said. ”I looked him in the eye and he gave me passion about playing for Scotland. I saw the passion and I really felt that we had nailed it that day [when we held talks with him].
He went on:
“Of course he has to play a competitive game but if we can get him playing in the friendlies, he can see what it's all about. We can hopefully have some good performances. Obviously winning is the big thing and then Scott can be a part of it.
”He's had some great games with Jose Mourinho at Manchester United. He's only 21, he's not got all the answers – I'm 59, at my last count, and I've not got all the answers but hopefully he'll get more right than wrong.