A Manchester United star Erik ten Hag rarely selects has been labelled “different class” by a pundit who revealed how to bring out his best at Old Trafford.
The summer arrivals of Mason Mount and Sofyan Amrabat are further evidence Ten Hag does not have faith in Scott McTominay. The Scotland international, 26, was reportedly up for sale in the last window, though despite interest from West Ham and Fulham, a sale never took place.
Part of the reason stemmed from no club meeting United’s £40m valuation. As such, McTominay remained in Manchester where he’s now fifth choice in central midfield behind Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, Mount and Amrabat.
A season of frustration lays in wait for McTominay who in sharp contrast to his club fortunes, is thriving on the international stage.
Indeed, qualification for Euro 2024 is in full swing and as of writing, McTominay is remarkably joint-top of the scorers chart with six goals.
His stunning efforts have helped Scotland win five from five and establish a whopping nine-point lead over Spain who sit second in Group A.
McTominay is tied on six goals with Romelu Lukaku (Belgium) and Rasmus Hojlund (Denmark) who are both strikers.
Even more eye-catching is the fact the likes of Harry Kane, Cristiano Ronaldo (both five), Kylian Mbappe (four), Robert Lewandowski and Erling Haaland (both three) have all scored less than McTominay in the qualifiers.
The midfielder is thriving while deployed in a more attacking midfield role – something he’s generally been denied the chance to do under various managers at Old Trafford.
Now, when running the rule over McTominay while appearing on talkSPORT, Scotland legend Ally McCoist suggested Ten Hag is missing a trick.
McTominay deserving of Man Utd chance?
“McTominay… is he not due a run [in the Man Utd eleven]?” asked McCoist. “He was different class (vs Cyprus) again. He’s top scorer at this moment in time.”
When quizzed on why McTominay is thriving for country but not club, McCoist added: “It’s amazing. For a couple of games [Scotland manager] Steve [Clarke] was playing him as a right centre-back in a three.
“It was fine and needs must on some occasions. But he’s miles better further forward and he’s been doing that and he’s been different class (when deployed further forward).
“He has been terrific and a lot of Scotland supporters are thinking ‘why is he not in this Manchester United team?'”
Ten Hag’s customary 4-2-3-1 formation would leave McTominay in direct competition with Bruno Fernandes in the No 10 role if positioned further forward.
McTominay is highly unlikely to ever displace the Portuguese playmaker who was appointed club captain in July.
As such, only a tactical switch to a 4-3-3 could see the Scot handed a chance to operate in a box-to-box role at United.