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Mctominay : The Powerhouse United were missing

scott mctominay

In the fourth episode of our player analysis series Tactical Masterclass, we cover Manchester united’s academy graduate, Scott Mctominay.

Scott, born on 8th December 1996, joined Manchester United at the age of 5 and has been with the club ever since. The Scot international, saw his breakthrough season come under the last season of Jose Mourinho, as he was now a part of the first-team squad.

But, it was never this easy for Scott when he rose through the ranks. Before we dive into what kind of player he is today, let’s dive a bit deeper into his roots.

Scott’s Youth Career

young scott mctominay
Young Scott playing in U18’s Manchester Derby

Scott began his youth career as a forward at first, but was later shifted to the midfield role before signing his first professional contract.

He then went on to play the CM role is u-18’s soon after signing his contract in between 2013 and 2015. He wasn’t able to complete the 2014-15 season however due to development-related injuries as he grew 14 inches in just 2 years. Before that, however, he struggled a lot as well as he was too small. Yes, the towering Scott once struggled in games because of his small stature.

Now let’s see how he has emerged to be “undroppable” as said by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer himself.

Mctominay under Jose Mourinho

Mctominay saw his first breakthrough come under Jose Mourinho. He was deployed either at the right or the left central midfield role of his 4-3-3 system.

His style of play was somewhat similar to the role played by Herrera in the playing XI, but similar to the Spaniard, he was played in a variety of different roles.

mctominay mourinho
Mctominay got promoted to first-team squad by Jose mourinho

Someday’s he would act as a box-t-box midfielder, on some a man marker, or just a defensive mid in a few. But his versatility was the reason why he got such varied roles.

His major role under Jose, however, could be divided into three parts:

  • Aggressive interceptions: Scott would always be seen going in for a tackle to stop play and make interceptions.
  • Marking incoming attacks: With his aggressive interceptions at play, more often than not, he was also able to keep a check on opposition attacks.
  • Connect between defense and attack: With breaking up the play, his passing skills and stature also saw him keep the ball much more. His eye for a pass was also crucial in making that vital connection between defense and the attack.

Stats under Jose Mourinho

  • Passing Accuracy: 83.3%
  • Interceptions: 1.5/match
  • Tackles: 58.8% success rate.

Now with that in mind let’s see how he progressed under Ole’s first season and turned out to be an absolute beast.

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Scott Mctominay under Ole Gunner Solskjaer

With Ole now at the helm things started to change for United, and so was the time to shine for the young Scot international.

And with that came one of the best performances of his career so far. That incredible night in Paris. Scott Mctominay started the match as injury struck United tried to qualify into the next round of Champions League.

The formidable midfield partnership of Fred and Mctominay that we se today, was first seen on that day. Mctominay, with his towering presence and physicality, was able to break up play with his aggressive tackles and interceptions and thread the pass-through to the attack. His stats at the end of the match were just outright phenomenal which saw him get praised by a lot of pundits as well.

Stats vs PSG in Champions League away match

scott mctominay paris
Scott was absolutely impressive in the win against PSG away in Paris
  • 96% pass accuracy
  • 100% tackles won
  • 4 ball recoveries
  • 1 interception

That match and the match against Barcelona showed that Scott was ready for the big stage and boy did he step up at the start of the season.

With Pogba out injured for months and Matic deemed slow for the fast-paced team Ole was building, Scott got the call up to the first team. And he has never seen backward ever since.

He has now formed a formidable midfield partnership with Fred and has undoubtedly made himself a playing XI member.

Scott Mctominay’s Stats: 2019-20

  • Matches Played: 26
  • Goals: 5
  • Assists: 1
  • Passing Accuracy: 81.2%
  • Dribbles: 2.3/game
  • Interceptions: 1.6/game
  • Tackles: 74.2%

Scott’s position under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

scott mctominay
Scott has proved himself to be undroppable this seasons

After Pogba’s injury, Scott fit into the team as the midfield partner for Fred. He took up the right midfielder role. His game covers a wide range can be defined by the following:

Protecting Center-backs:

Scott can be seen protecting the backline when our wingbacks move forward. With wingbacks out of position, defenders are drawn by the opposition attack leaving positions open at the back. Scott can be seen covering these positions when United are moving forward from the flanks. This play might not be that prominent with Wan-Bissaka being mainly a defensive-minded right back. But whenever the duty calls, Scott is there to answer the same.


Carrying forward this attribute from Mourinho’s era, Scott can be seen aggressively closing down oppositions and winning the ball back. This is one of the major plus points of having Scott in the team sheet. You can be assured that the opposition team will have a task moving around the ball in their midfield. With Mctominay not even shy to put in a tackle, this has helped United win a lot of balls back in the mid. Which can also be seen in his season’s stats above. Making 1.6 interceptions/game and a 74.6% tackle success rate.

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Moving Forward with stability:

Winning the ball back isn’t his only strong point. With 2.3 dribbles/game under his belt, he has shown his ability to move the ball forward as well. This happens in conjunction with Fred taking a step back to stay and help defense. He can be seen moving the ball around and also changing flanks whenever the opportunity presents with his accurate long balls.

mctominay running
Mctominay running towards opposition goal.

The above pointers define his play there’s a certain style to them that makes him crucial for our first-team.

Long shot accuracy:

Scott has a real eye for a goal and the accuracy to hit them from the long-range as well. Majority of his goals throughout his career so far have come from outside the box itself. And this can also be seen by the goals he scored against Arsenal and Manchester City this season.

Ariel Prowess:

With his towering stature, he is also an ariel threat on set pieces. And his ariel prowess also helps him in winning long balls in the midfield as well.

Indirect set-piece threat:

Although he is a threat in set pieces directly itself, United rather seem to be targeting Maguire for the vast majority of their set-pieces. But his reading of the game and being in the right place at the right time is a major threat as well. Paired with his striker’s instincts from back in the day and you have a goal scorer inside the box both on and off his legs.

mctominay goal celebration
Mctominay scored on his come back from injury against Club Brugge

Gets fouled often:

With him trying to move forward and thread passes he has won numerous amounts of fouls for us in deadly positions. Going for the dead ball and reaching first, drawing a tackle from the opposition. Or running forward and getting fouled.

Calculated risks:

Although his tackle numbers and successes are comparatively lower than other midfielders out there. There’s a reason behind the same. He likes to remain firm on his feet unless he is very sure to win the ball. Mostly heckling players to pass the ball either sideways or backwards.

And with all of those attributes combined, we have a powerhouse of a player packed inside Scott Mctominay. He is definitely one for the future. As not only has in on-field performances, but his off-pitch attitude has impressed those around him as well. With many fans also believing him to be a potential captain down the lane for United.

With that our analysis of the player ends, but before we let you leave we want you to read what Matic had to say about Scott:

Matic has praised Mctominay for his behavior both on and off the pitch

“I like him because he is a very nice guy and he doesn’t have a problem to ask something before the game. I am always there to help him. When I came to Manchester, I saw within a few days he would become a top player.

“He is working very hard, but I don’t want to say too many things about him because he is still very young. But he deserves all the good things.”

He surely is on his route to be one of the top class midfielders in world football.

What are your thoughts on his play? Do you see him captaining United somewhere down in the future?

Next on Tactical Masterclass, we cover Daniel James tomorrow!

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