Scott McTominay celebrates a goal

McTominay: I'll come back hungrier than ever

Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay took part in our latest fans' Q&A to discuss a range of topics from his home, including what we can expect from him when football resumes in the Premier League.

Stewart Gardner put forward 10 questions sent in by fans from across the globe, and our Academy star was in top form, explaining how Ronaldo and Messi are the driving inspiration behind his career and why he's addicted to competition of all kinds.
 
Check out our full transcript of the conversation, which was recorded before the players returned to the Aon Training Complex on Wednesday...
 
Given that you came through the United youth system, can you tell us about the emotions and the experience of playing at Old Trafford for the first time? Coming out of the tunnel, what was going through your head? (John McKenna, Australia)
 
“Yeah, so that was Crystal Palace at home. That was my first. I had had a taste of it – being on the bench and stuff like that – but when you actually get to play from the start, it's completely different. It's chalk and cheese from being sat on a bench or maybe coming on to actually starting a game and feeling that emotion before it as well. When you are in the Reserves, you don't really get coached on how to deal with pressure and how to deal with the expectation of fans and stuff like that. So it's either sink or swim in that respect. You have your own mentality to go out on the pitch and do your best and obviously try to help the team as much as possible, but the emotions are very much stable. I feel like, before games, you have to boost yourself and you have to get mentally ready before physically, and obviously for me it's about keeping in control. When you do go on the pitch, you're a little bit aggressive and you're ready to do absolutely everything on the pitch. But you have to be stable – you can't go in the middle of a Manchester derby and start steaming into tackles in the first five minutes and get yourself sent off. There's a fine balance between emotional control and obviously the physical control as well.”

10 fan questions for Scott McTominayVideo

Which other current or former United Academy players do you think could also make it big in world football? (Melissa Knowles, UK)
 
“There's a lot. The list is endless. You look at the talent that people like Adnan Januzaj have had, Ravel Morrison. Extremely, extremely talented players, and I'm sure they'll still go on to do very, very well for themselves. We've had Demetri Mitchell who's been very unfortunate with injuries as well, who's such a brilliant player and is a good lad as well, who's got his head screwed on. For him to put his injuries behind him and start kicking on now would be amazing, if that's at Man United or if that's away from Man United. There's a lot. I've played with boys like Oliver Rathbone, who've come through and had a difficult time like myself in the youth teams, from not playing as much, going through different growth spurts, and sort of finding their feet a little bit as a man playing man's football. If you look at him now, he's one of Rochdale's best players and he could end up getting a move somewhere else. For me, all the boys have come through the Academy with the right mentality, and that's the basics of it, and they'll go on to have brilliant careers as well.”
 
In terms of current ones, is there anybody that stands out, or do we have to be careful not to overly hype people?
 
“For the younger boys? There's a lot. You see Di'Shon [Bernard], Largie [Ramazani], Jimmy [Garner], you see Mason [Greenwood], obviously, coming in and Mason's on his way to being established. He's not quite at that level of being a regular first-teamer, and that's what Mason has to strive to become. He's one of the most talented players that I've seen for a long time – his left-foot, right-foot shooting is ridiculous. For me, it's my responsibility – Marcus, Jesse, the more experienced ones like Juan, Nemanja, Granty, for example – we've got to take a responsibility now to push these younger boys and get them up to a level where it's justifiable that they've reached their potential. For everyone at the football club, that's the primary goal as well. It's the same for myself: I'm getting pushed by the coaching staff every single day. Obviously Harry Maguire, Nemanja, Paul, they're such influential players that you have to learn from every day. If the boys don't take responsibility for their own careers, it can pass you by quickly. The boys who have come into the first team this year from the younger age groups have been an absolute credit.”
What were your favourite boots, or your lucky boots, you wore as a kid? (Samuel Owen, USA) 
 
“My lucky boots! Do you know what, I was never into lucky boots or anything like that as a kid. I'm going back to the last year or something like that, I scored my first goal for the club in some... they're sort of like a luminous lime-yellow adidas Nemeziz boots. I stuck with them for a while. That's the most I've ever stuck with a pair of boots, because I do like to change, and I like that fresh feeling of new and something that's very much the newest thing out. So I've always been like that. But those boots stuck around for a while.”
 
What does it feel like coming through the Academy and playing in the first team in front of all the United fans at Old Trafford? (Billy Boothman, UK)
 
“That emotional side of it, when you're an Academy boy, is different to players coming from different countries and different areas. But the fans always know that the ones who come through the Academy and play in the first team, it's just that different feeling of that emotion towards the fans. The majority of the people sat inside Old Trafford, you've bumped into on the street or you've seen, or they're friends or family watching. It's incredible, and you can't take anything for granted because in times like this, when everyone's in lockdown and you can't play football, you're relishing those moments again when you're desperate to play football and play in front of that many people. Some people like myself who are driven by excitement and driven by competing and doing all the right things and working hard, it's difficult you know, whenever you can't do that. That's why you've got to push yourself in other things, like the gym and running and playing football in your back garden as well.”

MUFC Moment: Scott McTominayVideo

You've come through the Academy, you're already an important part of the team. How hard is it to actually keep pushing yourself to keep getting better and better and better? (Darren Jeffery, UK)
 
“You look at the best examples in the world, who are Ronaldo and Messi for the years and years they've kept those [high] levels. If any player who is not as good as those two thinks that they've made it or that they've arrived, they're just kidding themselves, because as soon as you stop being willing to learn, willing to improve, willing to study football matches, then you're sort of just mugging yourself off. For me, it's always been the case where you're desperate to improve any little details which Kieran [McKenna], Michael [Carrick], the manager, anybody, any players who want to speak to you about little things that you can improve on, you have to take it with both hands. Because if you don't, you don't want to look back at your career and think, 'Oh, I regret not doing this or I regret not doing that'. You want to finish your career and say 'I gave it absolutely everything that I could'.”
 
What is the best match you've ever played in as a professional footballer? (Ian Mitchell, UK)
 
“That's a tough one. There's been a lot of games where I've come away thinking: that was special. It has to be PSG away I think. That has to be brought into the equation. Barcelona at home, even though we lost, was for me an amazing night which I thoroughly enjoyed. Playing against some of the world's best players, which you do a lot in the Premier League, but you don't do it at the top, top, top of the tree every week. They're games that you have to look back on. But I'd probably say PSG, in the circumstances: the way that we did it, the way that we performed, the way that we came back, I thought it was incredible, and obviously that will live long in the memory.”

McTominay: How to set yourself up for the dayVideo

What do you think about the future of the current Scotland squad, especially the midfield? It's starting to look a strong area. Would a lot of competition for places in that position be good going forward? (Alistair Dingwall)
 
“Yeah, I feel like the national team you're playing in, if there's not competition for places then there should be. It's good whenever you've got players who are playing at such a high level. You've got young Billy Gilmour coming through who looks like a brilliant player. I spoke to him briefly after we played them [Chelsea] and he'll do really well. He seems like he's got his head screwed on firmly on his shoulders, and every little bit that I'm seeing of him, I like him more and more as a player. We've got other players – John McGinn, Kenny McClean, Callum McGregor, Stuart Armstrong – I think some of these boys don't get as much credit as they should do for how good a player each and every one of them is. Obviously we've got different boys who can play no.10 as well, so competition is healthy. That's the best thing about a football team, where everybody's pushing each other. If you're not playing as well as you should do, you know that somebody's always coming for your shirt, which is good. For me, I thrive off that competition. Even just little things in the garden with my friends. I live for moments where you can just compete against each other and, obviously, you want to be the one who comes out on top. You should never rest until you are the best.”

What have been your biggest achievements so far while playing for United? (Gary Simpson, UK)
 
“There are individual awards which you've won, Player of the Month awards and things like that, and scoring goals. I'd probably say the individual Player of the Month awards, or the Manager's Player of the Year award, but for me, while the individual ones are important, they're not as important as a collective – if I'd won a trophy last year, or the year before, that would be first on the list, 100 per cent. When we lost in the FA Cup final [in 2018], even though I didn't start the final, I was gutted. I couldn't believe it. I was dying for that feeling of winning a trophy. For me, you shouldn't rest in your career until you get to a point where you're winning trophy after trophy. For everyone at Manchester United, that has to be the aim.”

Season so far: Scott McTominayVideo

Now that you've established yourself in the team for United and Scotland, what are your hopes for both in the future? I'm looking for a double of United winning the league and Scotland qualifying for a major tournament! (Sean Parsley, UK)
 
“Yeah, that has to the primary goal! Number one is that. For us, at the club, we're priding ourselves on trophies. Performances result in trophies, and for us we've always had that drive, especially with Ole and now Kieran and Michael, who've been absolutely incredible for the whole squad. For us, we just have to keep focused and know that if we get the moments where we're in a quarter-final or a semi-final or even a final, then we have to take it and grab it with both hands.”
 
What can we expect from you after this period of isolation due to COVID-19? What can we expect from you after that? (Adeuyi Taiwo, Nigeria)
 
“I don't know – the same old Scott! Motivated, wanting to learn, wanting to do well, coming back fitter. I'm sure all of the boys will be in their shape where we'll have two or three weeks' training and hopefully hit the ground running, and I'm sure there'll be a lot of games. I think the simple answer to that question would be: hungrier than ever. When I got back from injury, you have four or five games and then the season just stops. It's like: well, no, this is where I need to kick on now! This is where I want to keep going! For me, it was bad timing, but always whenever you're working hard at home, I'm sure we'll come back and it will become good timing as well.”


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