McTominay: 'I will always want the ball'
Scott McTominay says he will always have the self-belief to play his natural game, whether Manchester United are performing well as a team or not.
The Academy graduate has become one of the first names on the teamsheet for interim manager Ralf Rangnick, with the Scotland international starting all but two of the 12 matches under the German so far.
While results have been mixed in that time, Scott’s level of individual showings have remained steadily impressive, with our no.39 finding the net at Old Trafford against Burnley and Aston Villa.
He has also been a combative presence as a no.6 in Ralf’s 4-3-3 system, earning a nomination for the club’s January Player of the Month award, which was eventually won by David De Gea.
The 25-year-old, who has now made over 150 appearances in the red shirt, feels like he is a confident player who won’t shirk a challenge or hide away, even if the chips are down.
“Confidence is a big part of it. I wouldn’t say I’ve necessarily been low in confidence,” Scott told club media earlier this week.
“The team has maybe been going through a difficult patch but I’d never really felt like that dip in confidence where I don’t want to do this or I don’t want to do that. I’ve never really had that so, for me, that’s part of the mental side of my game, which I feel is so important.
“No matter what’s happening, you always want the ball and you always want to play. No injuries or anything like that, I always want to be there and I always want to play.
“If you’re in a good moment or a bad moment, I think the lads can say that I’ll always be on the pitch.”
Scott’s elite mentality is further emphasised when it comes to his attitude towards losing.
Many of the great United players, particularly during the Sir Alex Ferguson era, will tell you how there was never time to really appreciate and celebrate big achievements, such as trophy wins.
That’s because there was always a fear of eventually losing that hunger and letting someone else overtake us.
It’s a similar story with Scott, who uses his hatred of defeat, more than the love of victory, to always drive himself forward.
“I hate losing more than I love winning, that’s the problem!” he added.
“I hate losing that much that, whenever you win, it’s a nice feeling but I never get too excited because that’s our job. That’s what we’re there to do.
“But when we lose or we don’t play so well or when you don’t get the right result, that’s when it’s difficult to take.
“We have to really reflect on it and look at it and think how can we do it better? But most definitely, I hate losing more than I love winning.”
After a draw in midweek, Scott will be hoping United can secure the three points once more against Southampton on Saturday.
McTominay is the cover star for the latest edition of United Review, our official matchday programme and you can pick up a copy at the ground or order one online.