Scott McTominay led a Pogba-less Manchester United midfielder to victory against Leicester on Saturday afternoon. The academy graduate is showing himself to be the side’s most reliable and consistent central player.
Pogba’s absence saw McTominay shifted higher up the pitch with a freer role. Confidence in his own game was obvious from the start.
His former days as an attacking midfielder in United’s youth set up means he has attributes that are rarely seen in the first team. It was only after a dramatic growth spurt as an 18-year-old that McTominay dropped deeper.
McTominay reliable for United
Kieran McKenna whispered in McTominay’s ear midway through the first half. It was likely about his loss of possession, something he did three times during the game. There are some obvious concerns and limitations to McTominay’s game but he was impressive. Importantly, he showed himself to be a distance apart from the experienced Matic next to him.
It was the variety in his game that was different to normal. A beautiful searching ball landed right at the feet of Dan James early on, a cushioned pass got Young out of trouble on the left flank and a crunching tackle on Ben Chilwell got Old Trafford to its feet.
Struggled under pressure
McTominay is energetic and he needed to be playing alongside Mata and Matic. In his own half, things are less certain. Hamza Choudhury put him under pressure and the closer McTominay is to De Gea’s goal, the less assured he looks and the poorer his decision making. He needs space to play well and that’s an obvious concern.
“I thought he was excellent. He’s a leader.”Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on McTominay
Leicester came to Old Trafford as the aggressor and when McTominay dropped deeper as Fred replaced Matic, he showed himself to be United’s best again.
McTominay sees out United victory
In the second minute of added time, he urged his teammates onwards with a loud shout inside the centre circle. A minute later he had four Leicester players shouting and shoving as he sat down by the corner flag.
Without Pogba, McTominay had to step up. He’s started every game this season for club and country, but this was his best. Solskjaer will rightly pick him every league game for the foreseeable future.
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