Scott: Spain a good gauge for young Reds
Scott McTominay may have only turned 26 on Thursday, but the Academy graduate is one of Manchester United's more experienced players on the winter training camp in Spain.
The central midfielder was also selected as captain by Erik ten Hag for the first half of the friendly defeat to Cadiz earlier this week and so is perfectly positioned to give his views on what's been happening out in Andalusia.
He believes the significant contingent of young players on the camp are learning a lot from their older peers and that, despite our loss, preparations are going well ahead of Saturday's clash with Real Betis and the season restart...
Scott, we’re here at our camp in Spain. How’s the break been so far and what have you been working on out here?
"Yeah, it’s been good to have a lot of the younger boys come and experience what it’s like to be with the first team and stuff like that. It’s good for them. They can learn from a lot of the senior lads in Tom Heaton, Martin Dubravka, David De Gea, Victor Lindelof and people like that who have seen a lot in football. Obviously you’ve got myself, Donny and a couple of younger lads who have still had a lot of experience in the first team so for us it’s important that we guide them and we help them through the training and the games and I feel like we’ve all been training so well. Maybe the other night was a blip but it’s important we get everyone together and the minutes are important too.”
You’ve seen both sides of it as you’ve been a younger player coming through at United. Can you see differences or similarities from that time to now?
“Yeah a lot. When you’re a younger kid you have to really pay attention and listen and respect the older ones, because they’ve been there and they’ve had more experience than you. Tom, David, Martin, Victor are all so experienced and senior internationals and everything they’ve done throughout their career the younger boys should be looking at that and thinking ‘that’s where I want to be’ and obviously go further and further as time goes on.”
It's obviously quite rare to have a break like this with the World Cup happening so what are you hoping to learn out here and take into the season when it restarts?
“It’s just the messages that the manager has been reiterating all season. There have been very similar messages this camp in terms of how we want to play and as I say it’s good for the young boys to really get that gauge for it and get that feeling that they’re really part of it and part of the training and obviously the dinners at night time everyone is integrating and stuff like that. It’s really, really good.”
Have you all been watching the World Cup games together and spending time together as a group?
“Yeah, the games have been on, we’ve been watching them and stuff like that but, as I say, we’re here to work and we’re here to train. We’ve had plenty of time to rest but we’ve also been training like pre-season so it’s been tough. As I say, the lads wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re not used to a break in the middle of a season and obviously for us coming back it’s important that you train hard and get back to them levels were you were whenever we finished because I feel like we had a really, really fit and strong team and it’s just step-by-step building back up towards that.”
The first friendly didn’t go our way against Cadiz, but what kind of lessons will we take from that going into the Betis game?
“It was a very different team and we’ve only had a short period of time to prepare for the game and it’s 45 minutes which was important for everyone. We needed the minutes and to push things forward. We’ve got another game coming up, so it’s obviously nothing to worry about. There are a lot of different players in the team and younger boys coming up, players coming back from injury as well so I mean it’s part and parcel of football. You’ve got to go on to the next one.”
Obviously there’s one more friendly but do you feel prepared for Burnley and that first Carabao Cup game after the restart?
“Yeah. As I say, there are players coming back from the World Cup and there are different people coming back into the group so you have to take it as it comes. We’ve got plenty of games coming up in terms of friendlies to really work on that and obviously get the group back together, the core group of players who are going to be playing in the game against Burnley, ready and raring to go and as I say fitness is one of the most important things at this time, when you’re just coming back and you need to get your legs moving again. It’s important for us, but when the game against Burnley comes around, I’m sure the whole squad and the manager will be ready.”