Scott McTominay.

McTominay's small tweak of mindset

Sunday 15 November 2020 09:00

Watching Scott McTominay play for Manchester United's youth team, simple observers would probably never have been able to imagine the type of footballer he would become.

A ball-playing, almost diminutive no.10, he sprouted up over a short period of time and has adapted his game accordingly. A stint as centre-forward for the Reserves prepared him for the rough and tough of Premier League life, using his new-found muscle and presence to compete with the sort of defenders who would have swatted him aside a couple of years earlier.

Already this term, the Scotland international has headed home a Juan Mata free-kick, at Brighton & Hove Albion in the Carabao Cup, and he is becoming an increasing threat at set-pieces.

Scott McTominay scored with a firm header at Brighton.

With Alex Telles's exceptional delivery now an added element to throw into the mix, it is hoped Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side will be dangerous all season when the ball is whipped into the box.

The chief target will usually be skipper Harry Maguire, who showed his aerial prowess again when scoring his first goal for England, in the 3-0 win over Republic of Ireland, while Scott was helping Scotland earn a place at next year's European Championship with a penalty shoot-out win over Serbia.

And the captain's mentality, when it comes to attacking every ball in the air, is one that has rubbed off on his colleague.

"I need to score more," McTominay told us. "Something in your mind just clicks together and you start to have a real belief.

“Against Chelsea, I had the first contact and should have done better, whenever you’re getting in from a corner. The game before, in Paris, I had two opportunities. So it is just that mentality, going into games really believing you can score goals.

“I was just watching Harry [Maguire] and how many first contacts in the box he gets. I was like, well, why can’t I do that? I’m the same size as him. It’s just a little mindset tweak that can really make the difference."

When asked whether we could score more goals from set-plays, Scott replied: "The options we have when delivering wide free-kicks and corners are amazing and we saw that in Paris in the Champions League game.

“The quality we have is amazing and it’s up to me, Paul [Pogba] or Nemanja [Matic] or Harry [Maguire] or Victor [Lindelof] or Axel [Tuanzebe], the ones who are playing, to really go and make them count."