IT was Jose Mourinho who first fully appreciated Scott McTominay and he handed him a bent candlestick holder to prove it.
The club’s awards dinner towards the end of the 2017-18 season was passing by with Demi Mitchell receiving the reserve team player of the year and David De Gea the first-team accolade.Scott McTominay has become Manchester United’s ‘Terminator’ this season[/caption] McTominay was awarded a candlestick by Jose Mourinho in 2018[/caption]
Mourinho could not let the evening pass, however, without McTominay, then 21, receiving the recognition he felt he deserved.
The Special One said: “He started the season in the academy and ended it playing big games in the Premier League. I thought ‘this kid cannot go home without an award’.”
So club staff were dispatched to find something, anything, in the function suite at Old Trafford that looked like an award as Mourinho took to the stage.
For the first and only time in the club’s history he announced there would be a new award, the manager’s player of the year and promptly called McTominay to the stage to receive his candlestick holder which had been recovered from some back room.
Whether he still has it or not is another thing, McTominay is aiming for bigger things and right now has them on the path to getting back into the Champions League.
He has become United’s ‘Terminator’, seeing off opponents late in matches.
The midfielder is the club’s top scorer in the Premier League with seven and without his goals United would be 12 points worse off in 12th place.
No other player’s top flight goals have been worth more points.
McTominay’s latest intervention came on Sunday.
On he came as a sub at Villa Park in the 73rd minute, and by the 86th he had powered home a headed winner.
Aston la vista, baby.
Against Wolves ten days earlier, he was on in the 73rd minute again and this time on the scoresheet in the 75th.
In the following game at home to West Ham, the 27-year-old was called from the bench this time on 64 minutes and provided an assist for Alejandro Garnacho’s second and then again for United’s third.
And what United fan can forget Brentford at home on October 7?
Staring at a third defeat on the trot at 1-0 down, Erik ten Hag threw McTominay on in the 87th minute and he scored twice in injury time to win the game.
Unfortunately for him, however, it is his effectiveness coming off the bench that Ten Hag seems to rely on most.
McTominay is most probably physically the fittest and strongest in the United squad – the Tominaytor.McTominay’s winner against Villa was his latest crucial United goal[/caption]
So when legs are tiring and he gets put into the action defences are in trouble.
He could have gone to West Ham had they offered more than £30million.
The arrivals of Mason Mount and Sofyan Amrabat plus the emergence of Kobbie Mainoo have threatened to sideline him.
But as that giant frame powered on to Diogo Dalot’s cross and then thundered towards the away section in celebration, the academy graduate showed again that he is not ready to be moved on yet.
As Mourinho said back in 2018: “For me there are not young players or old players, it is just about the quality of the personality and this kid has everything that I want.”