Scott McTominay admits that it hasn’t sunk in that he is becoming a key player for Manchester United – and says he might not have made it elsewhere.
The 23-year-old joined their academy at the age of just five, and has progressed through the ranks to become an important squad member. He has started five Premier League games this season – more than Paul Pogba or Donny van de Beek.
McTominay has thus established himself as someone Ole Gunnar Solskjaer trusts, with Jose Mourinho also having done so before him.
The Scotland international has admitted, though, that it could have been a different story had it not been for the support of the club and his family.
“I genuinely don’t think it’s sunk in,” he told Pro Direct Soccer. “I think it’s something that I will look back on at the end of my career.
“It’ll sink in as a special time in my life and sometimes you need to reset and think about it.
“My family are very humble, they won’t let you get ahead of yourself. They are always pushing me behind the scenes.
“When I was 16, I was really small. I couldn’t get near the team and I was injured for two years in the youth team.
“When I look back on it, if I knew in my mind how difficult it is to get to here, I would have written myself off.
“If I was at any other football club, I wouldn’t have been a footballer.”
Solskjaer warned about over-reliance on McTominay
While McTominay will naturally be happy with his gametime, some believe he is not necessarily the answer if United are to return to their former glories.
Speaking last month, Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink claimed that a midfield pairing of McTominay and Fred is not good enough in the long-term.
“That’s not a Manchester United team is it?” he said. “Two defensive midfield players, going to Everton where you should have more attacking players on the pitch, especially Pogba.
“Longer term you cannot have Fred and McTominay in your team to become champions or to challenge for the championship.”