Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay was arguably Manchester United’s best player in the Europa League final.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer labelled him ‘absolutely outstanding’, speaking to the club website.
McTominay’s performance was especially laudable because of the journey he has been on over the last four years.
In 2017 McTominay made his debut in an end of season Premier League game against Crystal Palace, with the Europa League final days away.
He was nowhere near the final squad, but since went onto establish himself as a first team player.
Four years on he was starting the Europa League final for Manchester United, and went onto give a great account of himself despite the defear.
McTominay should be an inspiration
McTominay’s rise should give inspiration to academy star Hannibal Mejbri, who made his debut at the end of the season against Wolves.
Like McTominay in 2017, Hannibal’s first team debut came in a dead rubber game with high rotation due to the Europa League final.
The young midfielder now needs to take inspiration from McTominay, as a pointer that he too can get to where he wants to go, starring Manchester United in a European final.
Special talent but there will be bumps along the way
Hannibal need only look at McTominay’s path the last four years to realise it won’t be simple, as if he did not know that already.
McTominay went in and out of the side under Jose Mourinho, and when Solskjaer took over, his confidence had been destroyed.
The Scottish midfielder still has some rough edges to his game, but he has developed into a regular starter for United over the past two seasons.
Hannibal is a more naturally gifted passer than McTominay, and has shone for the under-23s this season to earn his first team bow.
If he works as hard as McTominay does, and commits to improving himself technically and physically, then there is no reason why he cannot establish himself as a first team regular.
There will be bumps along the way, McTominay has shown this. He has also demonstrated an ability to bounce back stronger.
Hannibal will have his tough moments, and will have to react well. In McTominay he has the perfect role model. The Scot’s success shows what is possible for the youngsters breaking through the academy.
Hopefully Hannibal won’t have to wait four years between his debut and starting a European final. And with a bit of luck, he will end up on the winning team.
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