Manchester United returned to winning ways after their capitulation against Tottenham Hotspur in midweek. Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez were on the scoresheet for the Red Devils as they raced to a 2-0 win over Huddersfield at Old Trafford. While there were plenty of talking points, the impact of a certain 21-year-old was telling, and the young bloke received acclamation from Jose Mourinho in the post match conference.
The man in question is Scott McTominay – a player who joined United before he was even a teenager. After an impressive pre-season coupled by solid performances in the cup games this campaign, McTominay is already one of the bright young prospects of the academy, and is a crucial member of the first and reserve team.
The Englishman was handed a rare start against Huddersfield – relegating Paul Pogba to the bench. It was a decision taken by Mourinho because of the Frenchman’s tame performance against Spurs. Many feared that dropping Pogba for McTominay wasn’t the correct decision made by Mourinho, but three hours after the team announcement, it proved to be a masterstroke by the Portuguese.
Speaking about the 21-year-old’s impact in his post-match press conference, Mourinho said:
“I made a few changes thinking about the characteristics of this game and I think this kid [McTominay] has a great desire to recover the ball when the team is not in possession, he’s a player that chases the ball, that tries to recover high up the pitch and when he has the ball it is always simple and against opponents like Huddersfield, so close and with so many bodies behind the ball, the simplicity sometimes is genius.
“I always try to do what is best for the team in any moment. I prefer to look at it in the beautiful way of a little kid that arrived here with his mum at nine-years-old for the first training session, 10 or 11 years later he is playing in a Manchester United shirt in an important match in the Premier League at home at Old Trafford, so I prefer to look at that perspective.”
This was only McTominay’s second league start of the season and knowing how highly Mourinho rates him, it’s certainly not the last we’ll be seeing of him. The player has a willingness to learn and playing alongside quality players will help him take his game to the next level.