Scott McTominay is now clearly better than Declan Rice

Manchester United’s policy of targeting young British players in the transfer market has led to long-standing interest in West Ham United’s Declan Rice.

United are short on midfield options and when Rice was enjoying a hugely impressive 2018/19, his stock – and transfer value – was only on the rise.

But in 2019/20, Scott McTominay has been as good as any player in Red and his current injury problems represent a major blow for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

McTominay can do everything Rice can do

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When the season kicked off, it might have seemed that United need a combative, energetic foil for Paul Pogba.

But McTominay has grown into that role this season, offering consistency and quality in possession.

Rice’s international performances have underlined his current limitations – he is little more than a player who keeps it steady at this moment in time.

McTominay can do that and is actually a box-to-box midfielder converted to a more reserved role to suit the demands of the squad.

On the other hand, Rice is a converted central defender and really starts to look like that when under pressure in the bigger games.

United have a player who can do everything Rice can do and has just as much room for growth.

Rice is not a £80 million player

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Rice’s value has been quoted by the as £80 million amid interest from United.

Obviously there’s a few premiums at play here; United as a buying club, Premier League riches on the selling side and the inflation on a young England international.

Rice is a promising player who keeps midfield ticking over and wins his tackles but has plenty to learn at the highest level.

Even accounting for inflation, it’s worth spending big money when generational players such as Wayne Rooney or Rio Ferdinand crop up further down the Premier League, and will be nailed on England internationals for a decade.

Rice is not at that level yet and United would be far better served continuing McTominay’s improvement and spending whatever small fortune we have available elsewhere

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.