Scott McTominay is one of those players media have talked about quite a lot this season. He is next in our player season reviews and the reason for the talk about him was both positive and negative. After Paul Pogba got benched in some important matches and the Scot was given the chance, most people talked about him for no other reason than him being played instead of the Frenchman when he was reportedly having issues with Jose Mourinho.
What do the numbers say?
However, all those talks scrapped away and Scott McTominay had a better season than he expected last August. Scott McTominay had made 23 appearances this season across four competitions. He made 13 appearances in Premier League, seven of those being starts. He played 603 Premier League minutes, which combined with 205 minutes in Champions League (four appearances in total) gives 8.98 full 90-minute matches in the two of the strongest competitions.
That must be better than what McTominay himself expected before the season. But with Andreas Pereira’s departure to Valencia, a place in central midfield opened up for those waiting on the fringes. With Ander Herrera’s poor form and the alleged feud between Pogba and Mourinho, McTominay took his chance. He was good in possession, playing safe short passes, not overthinking anything, while adding 1.3 dribbles per 90.
He was making 1.5 successful tackles and 1.7 interceptions per 90 minutes in those two competitions, a decent number for someone inexperienced and not expected to be playing in the first place. He was also making just 1.3 fouls per 90, which is less than he was (2.00), which is another positive thing. McTominay was not too creative, but that was not his job anyway and he offered more height to this team, winning 55 percent of aerial duels.
Was he an important player for the club?
He was not too important, but he proved he could be an important squad player next season. McTominay showed talent to become a player who can be relied upon, especially as Mourinho likes the players of special tasks during important matches. McTominay maybe did not play too much compared to some other players, but in the end he was the one who was given Manager’s Player of the Year award, not Nemanja Matic as Mourinho planned at first.
That may have been a symbolic gesture from the manager, but McTominay knew what that meant. Mourinho has seen something in him and next season he could continue improving. McTominay was doing the things he was good at, retaining possession and not overcomplicating things in central areas of the pitch. For the first season, that is good enough. Hopefully he will have more playing time to show improvements.
Projection for the 2018-19 season
Whether that will happen remains unknown. For now, the feel is like McTominay will have his small role next season at Old Trafford. He will not be expected to play too much, something similar to this season, but things may turn out differently and McTominay gets to use his chance in some other unexpected turn of events.