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McTominay is always learning, which is why he will be a player to raise his game under Mourinho

Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay has spoken about his development at the club which has seen him rise to the first team, stating that his training never stops, not even when he’s not on the pitch. The 21-year-old has been trusted by Jose Mourinho after making his debut in the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates last season. McTominay started against Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening, partnering Nemanja Matic in midfield.

McTominay has made six appearances for his club this season, playing 90 minutes on three occasions in three different competition; the Premier League, the Carabao Cup and the UEFA Champions League. Mourinho and Matic have lauded the youngster with the Serbian player suggesting that young players need to be given a chance o express themselves, which will aid their development. After the victory over Bournemouth, McTominay was one of three players nominated for the Man of the Match award, which was given to Luke Shaw.

United face West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Sunday afternoon, a must-win match to keep the chase on Manchester City, who will be 14 points clear of United on Saturday evening. McTominay spoke to the official Manchester United website about his development ahead of Sunday’s fixture, stating that he is learning all the time from his fellow midfielders at the club, saying:

“Even when I don’t play, it’s so important to watch the likes of Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick – people who play in my position – and study everything that they do on the pitch.

“Then, whenever you go out on the pitch, you need to emulate that and be yourself on the pitch. I thought I was doing that the other night [against Bournemouth] and, as I say, I just want to progress from here and go into the second half of the season really strong.”

Speaking about the different qualities of his teammates at the Old Trafford club, McTominay answered:

“There are lots of different styles of play and there are a lot of attacking and defensive players so that’s a really good balance to have in the team and it means the manager has some good options.”

United are not heading into the busy festive period which sees them playing five matches, including Sunday’s match, before the end of the month. United are two matches away from the halfway stage of the Premier League season, the match away to Leicester City on the 23rd December will mark that stage of the season. McTominay has admitted that is has been a difficult challenge to adapt to the new environment within the first team. However, the player feels the first half of United’s campaign has been a good one, especially for him. He said:

“Personally I would say it’s obviously been tough coming into the new group and learning the way around it but it’s also been one of the most invaluable experiences that I’ve had, coming in and training with these guys every day and getting the bits of game time that I’ve had.

“I’ve played three matches now from the start and I’ve also appeared in a few other games as well, so you just have to take it in your stride – that’s the main thing for me. Take it in my stride and keep pushing forward and working hard.”

The match against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday will start a run of three consecutive away matches, with the Carabao Cup fifth round clash with Bristol City, culminating with the trip to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester. McTominay feels that United can take the inspiration from their away run of fixtures a few weeks ago in which United dealt with tricky fixtures against Watford, a 4-2 victory and, Arsenal, a 3-1 victory. The 21-year-old said:

“I think we proved that when we went away to Watford and then away to Arsenal – two long away trips in a week and we managed to win.

“I think the squad is big enough and can handle these situations. Obviously we’ve had a positive record at home, and away from home we need to keep going and see where it can take us come the end of the season.”

United were defeated by Manchester City in the Premier League at Old Trafford last Sunday, a match which saw the gap rise to 11 points, which after tonight’s match between them and Tottenham Hotspur, will rise to 14 points. United, however, did return to winning ways in the Premier League on Wednesday, overcoming the defeat at the hands of City. McTominay has insisted that it is not in the club’s DNA to give up without a fight and the season is not over in December, as we have seen many times before with Liverpool apparently winning the league at this time in recent years. He said:

“That’s the main thing – keeping the pressure on, keep plugging away. We can only use that result [against Manchester City] as motivation for the end of the season and where we want to be.

“We want to be challenging at the top and we won’t give up. We’re Man United and we never will do, that’s the philosophy of the club – to keep going right until the end and that’s what we are going to do.”

This tells me that McTominay, despite being relatively inexperienced compared to his teammates, is going to be a great level-headed figure in the dressing room. Just because the media and the pundits have jumped on the Manchester City bandwagon, does not mean it is all over. City are doing well this season, but when that defeat comes, it could stutter their confidence, especially if they remain in the Carabao Cup, the Emirates FA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League – it could all become too much for Pep Guardiola’s side, and you never know what could happen.

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