Exclusive: McTominay close to a return from injury
Scott McTominay has paid tribute to the Manchester United staff members who are helping him to overcome the physical and mental challenges posed by his first injury in senior football.
McTominay trained away from the main group during Sunday’s opening session at the Marbella Football Centre, but he later revealed to us that he could join in fully towards the end of the week. That is thanks to the team of experts who are meticulously guiding and supporting his rehabilitation.
As well as being a standout player this season, Scott is also an eloquent speaker and this exclusive interview with the 23-year-old is a must-read for all Reds, providing an insight into his recent injury troubles, relationship with Fred, thoughts on Bruno Fernandes and burning desire to lift trophies in the next four months…
United Daily: Here are Sunday's top talking pointsVideo
“Yeah it has been going well. Obviously, it is never nice watching football matches when you have been playing, you want to be involved and you want to be helping the team as well. It is difficult, you know, but you have to find your way through it mentally more than physically sometimes. It is challenging, obviously, from my first proper injury. You need to have all of the right people around you, which I do, and that has been massively beneficial towards my recovery and obviously I want to be taking some part in the sessions towards the end of the week. We will just see where we go from there. So we are just going to do whatever we can to make sure I am back on the pitch as soon as possible.”
We saw you training away from the main group, with Axel Tuanzebe, and you were looking strong and very good from our perspective...
“Yeah I am feeling good, I am feeling fit. I have always had that drive and ambition to keep on top of my fitness and look after my body, because it is the most important thing at the end of the day. I am feeling well. It is nice to be in Marbella with the boys, get a little bit of sunshine and get some warm-weather training as well, which is obviously more beneficial than being at home. It brings everyone together as a group. I have not seen them that much over the last five or six weeks, so it is good to see everyone, see the boys all together again and hopefully we can finish the season really strong.”
“Yeah, I have been working with Dave - or Binners, as we call him - and he has been top drawer. He has been anything that I have needed. He has just got me out of the house and stuff like that. Anything that I have ever wanted, he has been there and obviously through my recovery he has been an absolute blessing. He has been top drawer. All of the other physios, masseurs and the fitness coaches - Mike Clegg, Charlie as well - and obviously the manager and coaching staff as well. They have all helped me a lot. They have been there when it has been not so easy, when you're feeling a little down in the dumps because you can't play. But that is football. You have to be mentally strong, I feel like I am, and hopefully it will be nice to get some minutes, or a lot of game time, towards the end of the season.”
You've gone from being ever-present this season to watching a lot of matches over the festive season from the stand. How has that experience been, and what are you like as a fan?
“Yeah, I was at the Man City game for example and it is difficult to be fair. When you are watching, it is not as easy as people think. When you are injured you just go and turn up to watch, but it is not easy - trust me. It is horrible. Whenever I am watching and we are winning it's amazing, but whenever the results haven't gone well it's difficult because you always feel like you should be helping the team. But hard work will always catch up with you at a perfect time in terms of injury and getting back to full fitness as well.”
Tuanzebe and McTominay step it up in SpainVideo
“He is a pleasure to play alongside and he is a great guy as well. We get on really well and have a good relationship off the pitch. He's a pleasure to work with and he's a player who I admire a lot. He has come on leaps and bounds in the past few months, and he deserves all of the credit he is getting at the minute. Long may it continue as well.”
Bruno Fernandes is here as well - what do you make of him so far, from seeing him around the place and on the training pitch?
“Yeah, in the brief moments that I have seen him in training, he has looked really, really good. He has looked like every type of player that the manager wants as well, so hopefully that can come to us on the pitch and he can show us what he can do. I can't wait to play alongside him.”
Coming back stronger Gallery
Injured trio Tim Fosu-Mensah, Scott McTominay and Axel Tuanzebe are working diligently away from the group.
“Yeah I am going to have to take him under my wing aren't I, to be fair, to make sure he is settled in and I can't wait for him to sing on one of the dinners that we have. Hopefully that will go down well and a few of the other lads, a few members of staff, will have a sing song as well, so it will be good fun and gets them all integrated into the squad. It puts everybody's personalities out there and obviously the quicker you settle in the better. It is a pleasure to see him here this week.”
Day one in Spain Gallery
Check out our exclusive photos as the Reds put in the hard graft on the first day of the warm weather training camp.
How important do you think this week of warm-weather training will be for the squad in re-energising everybody?
“Yeah that is a massive, massive part of it, to re-energise everyone, freshen everyone's minds, to go again in the last three or four months of the season. Obviously, for me it has come at a really good time from an injury perspective because you have got two weeks' advantage to catch up. If there were games in this two weeks then I am missing another six games, potentially, so I saw this as soon as I got injured and looked at it as a massive positive. To get some proper training in is massive for me as well.”
Looking ahead to the season finale, how big is the determination in the squad to finish strongly and possibly win two trophies?
“Yeah, that is what I was just saying to some of the physios - it would be nice to come back and have a massive, massive push with the rest of the boys to get into some finals, get some trophies under our belts and really set the bar for next season, set a bar that we don't step underneath. All of the boys are fully focused on doing that and hopefully we can do it as well.”
Reading this in our app? If not, you might miss some exclusive features not found on ManUtd.com. Download the Official App here.