You can tell how much it hurt Scott McTominay to miss two months of action with injury.
He has jumped straight back in, starting three games in the space of eight days.
After marking his return against Club Brugge with a goal last week, he quickly rediscovered his confidence.
Last night against Derby County it was a very different type of performance, McTominay had to dig deeper.
He clashed with Rams youngster Louie Sibley and at one stage gave him a piece of his mind after being on the wrong end of a bad tackle.
McTominay won five tackles in the contest, more than any United player. He was only matched by Derby defender Max Lowe.
He managed two interceptions, which was more than the rest of United’s midfield combined on the night.
McTominay’s passing was also impressive. He completed 98 per cent of his 61 passes, which included 9 of 9 long pass attempts.
In a tricky and in small bursts fiery game, McTominay kept his composure to remain effective in possession and help United negotiate a potentially tricky match.
The only disappointing part of his night was his shooting, three shots and all off target.
Another big effort required
It’s uncertain how United will line up against City. McTominay played all 90 minutes, while Fred, and Bruno Fernandes were substituted early and Nemanja Matic rested.
If there is a midfield three, it will be Fred, Matic, and Fernandes.
Against Everton it was a four, and McTominay will be desperate to play in the derby after missing the two Carabao Cup semi-final matches.
He was excellent in the league win at the Etihad and if he gets the nod at Old Trafford on Sunday, another big effort will be required to help United earn an important three points.
- Three reasons Scott McTominay should start against Aston Villa
- Sancho and Greenwood partnership could lead a new generation of success
- Bruno Fernandes has won psychological battle before Manchester United kick off
- Solskjaer eyeing sensible and long term transfer moves
- Ethan Laird joins Manchester United training