Coming through the ranks at Manchester United can be an extremely daunting task for young players. After all, this is a club that is steeped in history and a major part of their illustrious past includes local lads making a big impact. From the Busby Babes to the Class of ’92, the Red Devils proudly rely on the academy providing players to help the first-team.
Having said that, in recent years it could be argued that the club haven’t been as successful on that front, although Jesse Lingard has still gone on to make over 200 appearances since breaking through and Marcus Rashford is undoubtedly one of the stars of the Premier League and English football.
Yet, there hasn’t been a constant stream of players making a mark on the first-team but it’s easy to see why. United are a club that demands success, so whilst youngsters will be given a chance, they need to have the mentality to go with the ability to thrive at Old Trafford – which can be challenging.
Scott McTominay is one man who has shown he has both of those qualities though. The midfielder wasn’t initially appreciated by many outside the club – along with some of his own supporters. However, under the guidance of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he has blossomed into an important figure in the squad.
The challenge for McTominay, and United, will be too continue this upward curve in the months and years ahead. That’s because despite the reasons for positivity, they are still some way behind bitter rivals Liverpool and Manchester City and aren’t even expected to finish in the top four with odds of 7/4 in the football betting.
Yet, from his own perspective, the Scottish midfielder has carved out a clear role for himself in this Manchester United group. He has an incredible engine, a willingness to work and a desire to do all he can to help the team win, and he has shown on occasions in the past, such as his memorable goal in the derby victory back in March, that he can play too.
For all United fans, the dream is for the club to get back to where they were under Sir Alex Ferguson, when they ruled England and conquered Europe. Whilst that means the club need to identify world class talent, as those teams boasted the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes among others, you also need the unsung heroes that deliver for the team in big moments.
Park Ji-Sung and Darren Fletcher are two that immediately spring to mind as players who Ferguson trusted at crucial times and McTominay can be that reliable figure for Solskjaer moving forward. Of course, he still has to improve but he is only 23-years-old and his performances in the past six to 12 months have justified the faith the coaching staff had in him when he broke onto the scene and any criticism of the midfielder has cooled significantly as he proves that he has a role to play at Manchester United.