Exclusive: McTominay plans to grab his opportunity
Scott McTominay is upbeat amid a positive start to Manchester United’s 2019/20 season, after shining on Tour 2019 and earning a starting position for the 4-0 Premier League win over Chelsea.
In our exclusive interview at the Aon Training Complex, to preview Monday’s match at Wolverhampton Wanderers, McTominay spoke impressively about his ambitions, learning from the best at United and how our three new signings are embracing the culture of the club…
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“Yeah, of course. There were a lot of younger players who were involved in the game. I think Jesse was the oldest player in the team which is a testament to the coaches and obviously the Academy staff when we came through the ranks to the first team. So, it was an amazing day for the Academy as well.”
You were in a midfield two alongside Paul Pogba. What is it like playing alongside Paul?
“Yeah, you have to have a relationship with the player you’re playing with and we did have a good relationship on Tour throughout the games that we were playing when we were away. Obviously it’s about building that up and keep the relationship between each other, know what each other does and keep adapting to the circumstances that we had throughout the game and I think we handled it quite well.”
How do you see your role in that two, as more of a holder?
“Yeah, obviously when you play with Paul he likes to get in the box and your job is to make sure that we are secure at the back and we’re locked in in different areas of the pitch. Obviously you have to remember and respect the fact that Paul is a world class player who can pretty much do anything on a football pitch. You have to adapt to sometimes what he does as well and the different runs that he might make and obviously adapt your game off that and if you are playing with someone else, you have to change that as well. Obviously, if you’re playing with Nemanja, Fred and Andreas in different positions like that, it’s always different with who you are playing with.”
“Yeah, of course. You have to look game by game and look to try and keep impressing the coaches and training is a big part of it. I feel like the game is the end result of a big training week and obviously we don’t get too many long training weeks like we’ve had the last couple of weeks and obviously it’s important to show the coaches you are capable of being in midfield every week and if you’re not you have to show them that you are capable of it. That’s the way that a lot of the lads in the changing room look at it.”
Do you model your game on anybody? Michael Carrick perhaps?
“Carrick is the best example. Somebody who has been there and done it all and experienced everything that you can experience as a footballer and he did it as a number six, he did it as a number eight as well and obviously I can model my experiences off Michael Carrick as well. With the different formations that you do play in games, sometimes it suits to have a number eight, sometimes it suits to have a number six, so as I said, I just want to try and establish myself and keep pushing and going the way that I am going and obviously learning as much as I am learning off the coaches as well.”
“Nah, it’s football. We can go to any stadium and lose twice. It’s part of football and we have to go there and really look to cement ourselves like we did in the first half last year. We looked bang on the money, we did well in that game and it’s important for us to go and really show them that we are not here to make the numbers up, we’re here to put a performance in and take the game to them and obviously we play a little different this year, so they will have to look at that as well.”
You got your first United goal at Wolves. Obviously the result didn’t go the right way, but was that bit a good memory?
“Yes it was. When I got home and spoke to my family they were like, ‘well done, you scored your first goal’. I didn’t have that same feeling. Whenever I have scored in games it’s not been as good a result as I hoped for. But those are the experiences you’ve got to learn from and help you in the future to be stronger and the coaches know that and the staff know that we can’t go there and expect it to be an easy game with three or four goals in the first half. It’s not going to happen. It’s Wolves away. You have to be compact, you have to be disciplined, you have to go to be ruthless on the counterattack and we know that.”
“I feel like last year we did play a lot of games where we did play against teams with five at the back and two midfield players and really, really compact and very stubborn teams, they don’t give a lot away in terms of fouls and free kicks outside their own box and they are very, very streetwise in terms of how they approach a game and they know how to defend well, but that’s up to us. We have to be good on the night to break that down and we have to be clinical on the counterattack as well, so we’ve got a few things we’re working on and we want to put that into the match as well.”
In the area of the field you will be in, you’ve got Neves in there, Moutinho and Dendoncker. That’s an important part of the field, right?
“Yeah, it always is. The midfield battle in every game more or less dictates whether you win or lose the football match. It’s the area of the pitch where it’s most important to be in control, so you can have time and space on the ball to look up and play through the lines and different things like that, so it’s going to be an interesting game and it’s one we’re very much looking forward to at the start of our campaign as well.”
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“Yeah, they’ve slotted in really, really well and that’s part of it whenever you come to a football club like Manchester United. You have to have that personality to come into the dressing room and own it. You have to come in and show people that you should be there and that you are going to be there and you are going to play and you want to show everybody including the staff and players that you are there for the long run and you’re not going to be a bit quiet and ease your way in. These boys have come straight in and they’ve played so, so well so far and it’s a credit to them and a credit to their previous clubs for their education that they’ve had.”
Watch the full interview with Scott McTominay during MUTV’s live build-up to Wolves away at Molineux Stadium, which begins at 18:30 BST on Monday.