McTominay: UEFA Youth League experience is vital
Scott McTominay feels the UEFA Youth League is hugely beneficial for young Manchester United players coming through the ranks.
The Under-19s are through to the last 16 of the European competition - which is for all under-age players from the 32 senior clubs that qualified for the UEFA Champions League - after Nicky Butt's side beat Brodarac 2-0 in Belgrade this week.
McTominay – who has been associated with the club since the age of five – is himself a product of the club's Academy and played twice in the UEFA Youth League in 2015/16. The midfielder, who has established himself in the first team this season, told us he's a big fan of the tournament, which he believes is crucial for players' development.
“We've seen James Wilson score for the Under-18s, Under-19s, Under-21s and the first team – it’s just a platform of age groups which helps you progress,” Scott told MUTV.
“I was part of that as well and a lot of other players like Axel [Tuanzebe], Tim Fosu-Mensah and Marcus Rashford were too. It educates footballers and makes you more mature as a person.”
McTominay watched on from afar as the Under-19s overcame a stiff test on an artificial 3G pitch in Serbia, with an Indy Boonen strike and an own goal from Brodarac defender Mihajlo Ivancevic in the first half sealing a professional victory for the young Reds.
“I actually watched the game with [Under-23s midfielder] Callum Whelan,” the 21-year-old revealed.
“It was a tough one for the boys. It was a qualifying match for the last 16, so it was vitally important for them to get through to that.
“It’s a competition which is so valuable – the experience of going away, travelling with the first team and being a part of different surroundings and playing against different cultures, which they might not have expected in a really tough match [against Brodarac].
“When you have the chance you have to integrate with the first team and show you’re not shy and you’re willing to have a conversation and hopefully be a part of their dressing room one day. But the boys did really well and I’m proud of them.”
The Under-19s will discover their round-of-16 opponents once the draw is made on Friday at 12:00 GMT.