This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Despite the high-profile departures of both Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini in recent transfer windows, Manchester United have done little to replace some of the players they have lost in midfield. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has publicly insisted he trusts in the club’s youth talents to make the step up to the first-team, and one man who the Red Devils will heavily rely upon to have an impressive campaign, is Scott McTominay.
The 22-year-old has played in a variety of positions for the club since making his senior debut, and that has cost him more than anything. Versatility is often a desired trait in players, but it can also lead to a case of not knowing where your strongest role is. McTominay has played across most midfield positions, but this season United will surely need him to nail down a spot.
Solskjaer has used the Scot as part of a deeper-lying midfield two in pre-season, and his energy and industry is something United desperately need. In the high-intensity game the side are looking to implement, McTominay’s role in closing down opposition players and shielding the back four will be crucial.
Whilst much of the criticism when a goal gets conceded is aimed at either the defenders or the goalkeeper, the protection in front of them also needs to be scrutinised. If, as pre-season indicates, McTominay plays alongside Paul Pogba in a midfield two, then it will be the former who has to retain some defensive responsibility. At 22, McTominay is no longer at an age where mistakes or bad performances can be put down to inexperience.
After a summer where the club failed to land its midfield targets, it will be up to McTominay to really step his game up and show that serious progress is being made.