Scott reveals his personal target
Scott McTominay is just enjoying playing football for Manchester United and Scotland, no matter which position he’s deployed in - although he does think he needs to score more goals!
The 25-year-old has risen to the challenge of featuring as the ‘no.6’ in Ralf Rangnick’s 4-3-3 formation in recent weeks, anchoring the midfield and proving adept at winning the ball back to feed the roving ‘no.8s’ as well as our front three.
Scott feels like the adjustment came naturally, after a long spell as one of two holding players in the 4-2-3-1 system that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tended to favour during his three-year tenure.
“Reasonably simply, to be fair,” he answered, when asked how he and his team-mates had adapted to their new roles and system. “It wasn’t like it was anything any of us hadn’t done before.
“He’s not asking us to play completely out of position or do different things that we’re not used to on the football pitch.
“A lot of it is the basics and the core values of football, which is what his [Ralf’s] principles are as a manager.”
Scott has often started on the right of a three-man defence for Scotland, most notably at Euro 2020 when he helped shackle eventual finalists England in a goalless group-stage draw at Wembley.
But what’s it like switching from playing as a midfielder for United to a defender for Steve Clarke’s side?
“Yeah, it’s very, very similar,” Scott replied. “Whenever you play as a two for Man United you drop out to either side of the centre-backs to get the ball.
“That’s just like playing right side of a three for Scotland, so you’re there already. There are so many similarities in terms of where you’re picking the ball up and where you can drive with the ball and really commit players, driving into the final third and playing your passes and scoring goals and creating assists.
“For me, I just enjoy football every day. That’s part and parcel of my life, I don’t do anything different to whenever I was a kid: I just play football. All these different formations and tactics, it’s still about enjoying it and smiling as well.”
McTominay certainly relishes getting forward and scoring goals, with a lethal strike against Burnley and a header to beat Aston Villa in the FA Cup his two efforts for this season so far.
However, our no.39 points out that he notched a career-best tally of seven in 2020/21 and he wants to top that. If his more withdrawn position prevents him from always arriving late in the box, he’s hoping to be more of a threat at corners and free-kicks.
“For me, definitely I need to score more goals. I need to be the guy who can score from set pieces and score with my head. That’s something I definitely look at.
“Last year I scored seven goals so obviously I want to beat that this year and I want to keep pushing forwards into the box.
“As I say, different formations might not allow you to get into the box but still being a threat and playing the passes to help the forward boys, like against Middlesbrough, was important for me. As I say, we just want to keep getting better as a group.”
In total, Scott has 17 senior goals to his name so far – 16 for United, one at international level – but is yet to settle on a favourite.
There is definitely one category of strike he’s aiming for, though…
“If the top corner one had gone in against Burnley probably that [Wayne Hennessey parried it on to the post before Cristiano Ronaldo converted], but the keeper saved it to be fair. It was an unbelievable save!
“I don’t really know, you know? I want to score one that’s like a rocket from outside the box… the majority of my goals are outside the box but they’ve all been quite nicely placed.
“I’ve never really hit a rocket that’s gone in the top corner, so I want one of them and then I’ll take that as my best goal!”