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Abraxas

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Not sure why there's such a reaction to it. I think he's the most obvious choice if we're going to try and utilise the resources within the squad to address this role. Fred is too lightweight and we would lose his pressing, VDB is a nothing player and we can't use Matic often.

He's a long way off at the moment, but presumably that's exactly why they'd be working on it. It isn't going to happen overnight and might not ever fully convince but it's worth a look.
 

MadMike

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Not sure why there's such a reaction to it. I think he's the most obvious choice if we're going to try and utilise the resources within the squad to address this role. Fred is too lightweight and we would lose his pressing, VDB is a nothing player and we can't use Matic often.

He's a long way off at the moment, but presumably that's exactly why they'd be working on it. It isn't going to happen overnight and might not ever fully convince but it's worth a look.
I can explain that fairly easily.

We're on Ole's 3rd season here and we basically had the exact same players operating at the base of the midfield during his whole tenure (Matic, Fred, McTominay). You can argue that we added VdB but it's tough to argue that we brought a player who played mostly box-to-box or AM at Ajax to play as CDM. In other words we basically had no change.

So if we've had the same midfielders for 3 years, why is this happening now? Why is it now that we realised that this needs addressing? Why didn't this happen at the summer when it became obvious we weren't signing a DM again? Can McTominay truly play that role, like, does he have the core skillset for it? Can the coaches improve him adequately enough? The same coaches that can't coach this team to play good football?

It all feels rather futile and performative to me. It'll work very poorly until next summer when we'll go buy a DM and forget all about this experiment.
 
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Abraxas

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I can explain that fairly easily.

We're on Ole's 3rd season here and we basically had the exact same players operating at the base of the midfield during his whole tenure (Matic, Fred, McTominay). You can argue that we added VdB but it's tough to argue that we brought a player who played mostly box-to-box or AM at Ajax to play as CDM. In other words we basically had no change.

So if we've had the same midfielders for 3 years, why is this happening now? Why is it now that we realised that this needs addressing? Why didn't this happen at the summer when it became obvious we weren't signing a DM again? Can McTominay truly play that role, like, does he have the core skillset for it? Can the coaches improve him adequately enough? The same coaches that can't coach this team to play good football?

It all feels rather futile and performative to me.
Maybe because the current idea is to transition to a single holder and to rework some of the roles, therefore necessitating an adaptation for a player like McTominay? This may not have been the plan previously and therefore no specific training was needed 3 years ago. This doesn't seem very difficult to me.

Maybe it did start in the summer? Wouldn't it logically have started alongside the 4-3-3 idea? Who knows when they started working on it, it's just a tweet, not a precise documentation of training...

What do you want the coaches to do, nothing? To plod on, never trying to improve players or redefine their roles if they think it's possible? If we accept that they're staying for the sake of limiting the discussion to this piece of coaching then personally I'd rather see them try something to address our midfield with current resources as that's what we have for now. I don't want to see them throw their hands in the air and say nothing is possible. That kind of morbidity is only fit for forum members

I think if we're going to try a setup like this then yes McT is the best option.
 

Roboc7

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It’s a stupid idea to try and convert him to a holding midfielder if true, he lacks all the key attributes to play there. It’s either incompetence and/or just wanting to be able to shoehorn him in.

It’s pretty obvious what he is and isn’t good at, if can’t use him to his strengths then get someone else. We tried similar things with Fellaini and kept moving the goalposts when everyone knew what he was good and bad at.
 

jem

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Not sure why there's such a reaction to it. I think he's the most obvious choice if we're going to try and utilise the resources within the squad to address this role. Fred is too lightweight and we would lose his pressing, VDB is a nothing player and we can't use Matic often.

He's a long way off at the moment, but presumably that's exactly why they'd be working on it. It isn't going to happen overnight and might not ever fully convince but it's worth a look.
I love ‘measured’ responses like this :rolleyes:
 

Andycoleno9

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What a stupid idea. Guy who lacks technique and struggles,to make a simple pass, we will try to make a holding midfield. From all our midfielders (including Bruno and Lingard as amcs), McT is the worst option for alone no6
 

Abraxas

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I love ‘measured’ responses like this :rolleyes:
How else would his performances for Utd be summarised? It's not as if he's been making tons of mistakes or showing talent where you can say "if he just sorts that out..or becomes more consistent.." His problem is he makes no impact whatsoever and doesn't influence matches to any substantial degree.

Even his good performances have merely been competent. A couple last season in the CL spring to mind and he played ok against Young Boys before getting hauled off. Again... ok, not fantastic or particularly eye catching. So out of the 1000 odd minutes he's played he's probably showed a couple of matches worth of acceptable displays and the rest instantly forgettable. So yes, a nothing player to date.
 

sebsheep

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How else would his performances for Utd be summarised? It's not as if he's been making tons of mistakes or showing talent where you can say "if he just sorts that out..or becomes more consistent.." His problem is he makes no impact whatsoever and doesn't influence matches to any substantial degree.

Even his good performances have merely been competent. A couple last season in the CL spring to mind and he played ok against Young Boys before getting hauled off. Again... ok, not fantastic or particularly eye catching. So out of the 1000 odd minutes he's played he's probably showed a couple of matches worth of acceptable displays and the rest instantly forgettable. So yes, a nothing player to date.
Nothing player is just dismissive though. We don't know what sort of player he could be for us because we haven't seen enough of him, especially for a run of games.
 

Abraxas

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Nothing player is just dismissive though. We don't know what sort of player he could be for us because we haven't seen enough of him, especially for a run of games.
Maybe it was slightly harsh, it would be better to say he has had far too many nothing performances.

I just don't believe in giving a lot of credit to a guy just because he's sat on a bench when all the evidence I've seen is that he doesn't provide much and doesn't seem to have much about him to really grasp an opportunity. Yes they've been limited, maybe it's been unfair, that can be analysed until the cows come home but ultimately you have to grasp one, football isn't about fair, sometimes the individual has to take responsibility.

On here it seems like sitting on the bench means something to a player's reputation simply by virtue of the fact the incumbents are struggling. A lot of excuses get made for Donny whereas there is no hiding for a player like McT because we see his labours. But actually when DVB had the chances he has been poor enough himself. Worse than being poor is not doing much at all for better or worse - I'd rather see him have a stinker trying things than another disappearing act.

In that context it doesn't surprise me they'd rather try McTominay for this role because he's a trier, although his quality is questionable.
 

sebsheep

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Maybe it was slightly harsh, it would be better to say he has had far too many nothing performances.

I just don't believe in giving a lot of credit to a guy just because he's sat on a bench when all the evidence I've seen is that he doesn't provide much and doesn't seem to have much about him to really grasp an opportunity. Yes they've been limited, maybe it's been unfair, that can be analysed until the cows come home but ultimately you have to grasp one, football isn't about fair, sometimes the individual has to take responsibility.

On here it seems like sitting on the bench means something to a player's reputation simply by virtue of the fact the incumbents are struggling. A lot of excuses get made for Donny whereas there is no hiding for a player like McT because we see his labours. But actually when DVB had the chances he has been poor enough himself. Worse than being poor is not doing much at all for better or worse - I'd rather see him have a stinker trying things than another disappearing act.

In that context it doesn't surprise me they'd rather try McTominay for this role because he's a trier, although his quality is questionable.
I think that's a fairer assessment. Players being rated higher the less they play is always an odd one, that might be linked to watching the players who play in that position and not being happy with them.

As for Mctominay and his new role, will be interesting for sure if it's true. I won't be judging it purely on the idea. Probably means a change of shape as well.
 

Ali Dia

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MCT playing defensive and Pogba alongside him and we will get torn apart in a game or two and that’ll be the last we hear of it. I think the only reason we decide to go single pivot is to try and fit Bruno and Pogba one last time and it just doesn’t work. Mct isn’t going to cover Pogba and win the ball and get it forward fast enough. Just seems like a badly thought out stopgap while we struggle to conceive ways of overpowering the opposition without outworking them.
 
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NK86

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How else would his performances for Utd be summarised? It's not as if he's been making tons of mistakes or showing talent where you can say "if he just sorts that out..or becomes more consistent.." His problem is he makes no impact whatsoever and doesn't influence matches to any substantial degree.

Even his good performances have merely been competent. A couple last season in the CL spring to mind and he played ok against Young Boys before getting hauled off. Again... ok, not fantastic or particularly eye catching. So out of the 1000 odd minutes he's played he's probably showed a couple of matches worth of acceptable displays and the rest instantly forgettable. So yes, a nothing player to date.
That's practically defining McTominay. How many matches has he driven our midfield and stood out which showed you "this lad is United quality".
VDB has not set the world alight but his competition in midfield have been awful themselves. There's a reason we are not a team who can control the tempo of a game despite having 2 midfielders there. Both of them are bang average on the ball and McT especially does his disappearing act all too often. If you see the maps which shows how much of the play goes through him, you would not be making these comments.
 

Andrew7582

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Maybe because the current idea is to transition to a single holder and to rework some of the roles, therefore necessitating an adaptation for a player like McTominay? This may not have been the plan previously and therefore no specific training was needed 3 years ago. This doesn't seem very difficult to me.

Maybe it did start in the summer? Wouldn't it logically have started alongside the 4-3-3 idea? Who knows when they started working on it, it's just a tweet, not a precise documentation of training...

What do you want the coaches to do, nothing? To plod on, never trying to improve players or redefine their roles if they think it's possible? If we accept that they're staying for the sake of limiting the discussion to this piece of coaching then personally I'd rather see them try something to address our midfield with current resources as that's what we have for now. I don't want to see them throw their hands in the air and say nothing is possible. That kind of morbidity is only fit for forum members

I think if we're going to try a setup like this then yes McT is the best option.
He struggles with the defensive side of the game even in a two, playing him there on his own is madness. He's never going to be a good enough passer either, waste of time. He is a box to box midfielder, all his best attributes are suited to that role.
 

Poborsky's hair

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That's practically defining McTominay. How many matches has he driven our midfield and stood out which showed you "this lad is United quality".
VDB has not set the world alight but his competition in midfield have been awful themselves. There's a reason we are not a team who can control the tempo of a game despite having 2 midfielders there. Both of them are bang average on the ball and McT especially does his disappearing act all too often. If you see the maps which shows how much of the play goes through him, you would not be making these comments.
McTominay is quite clearly a subpar quality for our CM spot but VdB never even justified to start ahead of him. Same shit we have seen with Mkhytaryan or Kagawa who is still 32 and plays for fecking PAOK. We just have to accept that some of our players are not good enough and stop giving them chance after chance and ruthlessly replace them. That's the case of McTominay and with VdB it's more of a case player mentally weak and his skillset is not really suited to play as a no6 for a top team either. This is not FIFA.

January we need a midfielder because otherwise Solskjaer will be clueless again and stroll to top4 and we won't sack him...
 

Poborsky's hair

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It’s a stupid idea to try and convert him to a holding midfielder if true, he lacks all the key attributes to play there. It’s either incompetence and/or just wanting to be able to shoehorn him in.

It’s pretty obvious what he is and isn’t good at, if can’t use him to his strengths then get someone else. We tried similar things with Fellaini and kept moving the goalposts when everyone knew what he was good and bad at.
Agreed, he's somewhat okayish to deploy once in a while as ano8 but he shouldn't be nowhere near the no6 spot. Clueless positioning, no dynamism, horrible passing, yet somehow he's still starting with Fred since we have noone better and never accessed this position..
 

NK86

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McTominay is quite clearly a subpar quality for our CM spot but VdB never even justified to start ahead of him. Same shit we have seen with Mkhytaryan or Kagawa who is still 32 and plays for fecking PAOK. We just have to accept that some of our players are not good enough and stop giving them chance after chance and ruthlessly replace them. That's the case of McTominay and with VdB it's more of a case player mentally weak and his skillset is not really suited to play as a no6 for a top team either. This is not FIFA.

January we need a midfielder because otherwise Solskjaer will be clueless again and stroll to top4 and we won't sack him...
I am not saying VDB is the answer to our problems. I am only pointing out the silliness in posts which say VDB is a fanny or VDB is a nothing player and then those same posters think McT is good enough for us for the time being.
 

RedStarUnited

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I really don't mind him, he offers enough to warrant a place in the squad. I don't think he's good enough (yet?) to boss the midfield, starting every week but it's not fair it's being put him really. Ideally he'd be playing alongside a worldclass CM.
what would he be doing besides a world class CM? Do you realise this makes less tackles than Jorginho? He has no defensive awareness or positioning.
 

HailtotheKing

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“McFred” gets bandied about a lot, but Fred actually does stuff (often badly, but you can see what he is all about).

McTominay is often anonymous. His passing is not great and his defensive awareness is not great. He’s ok at bursting into the box and his finishing is decent, but that’s not how we use him anyway, or what we require from him.
Totally agree with this.
 

HailtotheKing

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The futility of it all.
Should that not have been happening pre-season then since Ole felt we didn't need a CDM? We had Sancho coming in and Rashford coming back, plus he wanted to keep Jesse. So, was it not clear as day that Pogba would have to move back into midfield to partner one other person. How amateurish are we as a club that it's taken us that long to realize and that we're now trying to convert an average attacking midfielder into a CDM? Beggars belief.
 

Abraxas

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That's practically defining McTominay. How many matches has he driven our midfield and stood out which showed you "this lad is United quality".
VDB has not set the world alight but his competition in midfield have been awful themselves. There's a reason we are not a team who can control the tempo of a game despite having 2 midfielders there. Both of them are bang average on the ball and McT especially does his disappearing act all too often. If you see the maps which shows how much of the play goes through him, you would not be making these comments.
Not often enough, I agree. That's presumably why he isn't and has never been the sole answer. But can he contribute? I do believe so because I've seen good performances. I've seen him have good showings in the big matches and that's how he earnt Mourinho's trust. I've seen him nick a few good goals. Is he influential enough and with enough quality on the ball? No but he's shown he can be part of a 25 man squad that will play a role without moaning every week to his agent as a lad that cost us nothing.

I've seen the square root of bugger all from VDB. That hardly even feels like hyperbole, he's had what...a few good halfs of football? By good I mean just that, good. I don't think he's ever had an excellent or stand out performance, just ones where we go "that wasn't too bad.."

I'm sorry but there's just a load of excuses made for him and Fred and McTominay not being the answer doesn't automatically mean VDB is something he quite clearly is not. I get it's understandable to turn to him as some kind of consolation in these dark midfield times but it just doesn't add up.
 
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NewYorkRed

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He offers absolutely nothing in possesion, and has gotten worse at staying with his man as he’s gotten older. He has been a 3/10 in almost every game he’s played in this year.

He’s still our best bet, after Matic who unfortunately doesn’t have the legs to play 90 anymore, as the DM. Speaks volumes about our squad, and makes you question how the management didn’t know this was such a huge gaping hole in the team.
 

Abraxas

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He struggles with the defensive side of the game even in a two, playing him there on his own is madness. He's never going to be a good enough passer either, waste of time. He is a box to box midfielder, all his best attributes are suited to that role.
I agree he struggles with it defensively but that's probably why they're trying to work hard on it in training.

I don't think he's ever been deployed in such a role, he's always been playing box to box and him and Fred are largely expected to work it out between themselves. It can't really be said that he's ever been played with the task of solely restricting the opposition and sitting. All his best and worst bits are as a box to box player because that's how he's been playing.

I'm not completely hopeful about it, he didn't show the most nous for Scotland from CB which is a worry because some of the same elements need to translate to this role. But I'd still say it is at the least worth trying in training, I don't see the big issue with it. We may not even see it in a game unless it is successful to some extent.
 

NK86

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Not often enough, I agree. That's presumably why he isn't and has never been the sole answer. But can he contribute? I do believe so because I've seen good performances. I've seen him have good showings in the big matches and that's how he earnt Mourinho's trust. I've seen him nick a few good goals. Is he influential enough and with enough quality on the ball? No but he's shown he can be part of a 25 man squad that will play a role without moaning every week to his agent as a lad that cost us nothing.

I've seen the square root of bugger all from VDB. That hardly even feels like hyperbole, he's had what...a few good halfs of football? By good I mean just that, good. I don't think he's ever had an excellent or stand out performance, just ones where we go "that wasn't too bad.."

I'm sorry but there's just a load of excuses made for him and Fred and McTominay not being the answer doesn't automatically mean VDB is something he quite clearly is not. I get it's understandable to turn to him as some kind of consolation in these dark midfield times but it just doesn't add up.
I don't think VDB is the answer but is he better than the options in his place - I am not 100% sure either way as he has not got anywhere near the same opportunities as the other 2.

If VDB had put in that McT performance against Villa, he would perhaps not even make the bench next few games. That's what the issue is.

How many games has VDB played with our strongest 11 for you to make a judgement that he is not good enough to displace any of the 2 who regularly start over him in midfield. I would like to see him get a run of games along with Fred. Fred can do the running and VDB can definitely have more guile and passing ability to be better than McT. Our midfield really cannot get much worse than what it already is, so might as well rejig it a bit.
 

FatTails

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The futility of it all.
Why? Many of us are complaining about the lack of coaching so for me it is good to see that the problems that are obvious for us outsiders have also been identified by the coaches and they’re working on fixing them (as unlikely as it might be with Scott, unfortunately)
 

Abraxas

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I don't think VDB is the answer but is he better than the options in his place - I am not 100% sure either way as he has not got anywhere near the same opportunities as the other 2.

If VDB had put in that McT performance against Villa, he would perhaps not even make the bench next few games. That's what the issue is.

How many games has VDB played with our strongest 11 for you to make a judgement that he is not good enough to displace any of the 2 who regularly start over him in midfield. I would like to see him get a run of games along with Fred. Fred can do the running and VDB can definitely have more guile and passing ability to be better than McT. Our midfield really cannot get much worse than what it already is, so might as well rejig it a bit.
There probably is some truth in the idea that DVB gets discarded more quickly but as much as fans don't like to hear it because it involves information outside what they can directly perceive...there's probably a simple explanation. I've got no reason to think there is some kind of agenda or conspiracy against him as it just makes no sense. He's just not cutting it and he's also not providing anything contradictory to that in the limited opportunities he has had. There is nothing I've seen that runs counter to this simple explanation of his time here. Simply not good enough overall.

Maybe he could get an opportunity, I am rather apathetic to it because I've seen nothing to give me great hope, but by the same token the current players are struggling so within a meritocracy you would say the next man should be coming in. But if he's producing nothing about the club to suggest he's any better and I've seen nothing to the contrary why clamour for it other than desperation?

However, when people say it can't get worse than it currently is then I'd say yes..yes it can. Fred has had good form at some point in his Utd career and he may be played back into it. I don't know if a rest or playing is better to revive him. McTominay is what he is, short on ability but has done a job alongside Fred for periods and overall that's been our one okay partnership. It can get worse I'd say.
 

NK86

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There probably is some truth in the idea that DVB gets discarded more quickly but as much as fans don't like to hear it because it involves information outside what they can directly perceive...there's probably a simple explanation. I've got no reason to think there is some kind of agenda or conspiracy against him as it just makes no sense. He's just not cutting it and he's also not providing anything contradictory to that in the limited opportunities he has had. There is nothing I've seen that runs counter to this simple explanation of his time here. Simply not good enough overall.

Maybe he could get an opportunity, I am rather apathetic to it because I've seen nothing to give me great hope, but by the same token the current players are struggling so within a meritocracy you would say the next man should be coming in. But if he's producing nothing about the club to suggest he's any better and I've seen nothing to the contrary why clamour for it other than desperation?

However, when people say it can't get worse than it currently is then I'd say yes..yes it can. Fred has had good form at some point in his Utd career and he may be played back into it. I don't know if a rest or playing is better to revive him. McTominay is what he is, short on ability but has done a job alongside Fred for periods and overall that's been our one okay partnership. It can get worse I'd say.
Fair enough for people to not care one way or another. However to call him a "fanny" and a "nothing player" among other things (not by you but other posters on here) is disingenuous when the players ahead of him have put in far worse performances.

As for why he is not getting enough game time, obviously there are insights which we are not privy to. However it could all come down to preference/bias of a manager. Lampard had completely isolated Rudiger who would have been sold. Now Tuchel has him playing like a machine. That's all there could be to it. Ole may be completely clueless to utilize someone like VDB.
 

He'sRaldo

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Scott's not been great yes, but based on Ole's previous behaviour I'd wager he's been rushed back from injury.
 

Fortitude

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He's gonna turn 25 in a couple of months and we're still teaching him how to pass the ball from deeper? Under a new manager he won't last IMO, unless that manager is big Sam.
McTominay's biggest problem, imo, was - and is - coming through in a team with no mentors to teach and monitor his game and force corrections on a game-by-game basis in the first team in the real time so many have had throughout the years here. Fletcher is gushing in his praise of Keane for this, and that kind of in-game coaching is invaluable to younger players. It's something that happens all over the world in top teams, but as we haven't been one of those for a long while, nor have we had many truly world class players for the younger ones to learn from, we've been out of this loop for a while, and I think it shows with a number of our younger players, the likes of: Wan Bissaka, Rashford and Lingard (not a youngster, but has gone through the same thing) who have had to figure things out by themselves with no real constructive criticism coming from team-mates in-game. You can put Martial in that grouping along with anyone who came or started young, actually.

Contrast someone like Wan Bissaka with the governance Rafael got with Rio on his inside and Scholes telling him where to go once he broke from defence. It's a world of difference.

I often feel McTominay looks lost out there and doesn't really know what he's supposed to be doing; when he's wandering around the pitch in no real position to affect the play, he has no-one out there telling him to take up a more useful position; when we're in the thick of a counter-attack, where everyone is scrambling around headlessly, there's nobody demanding X, Y, Z stand here or there or cover wide open spaces - contrast that to a team with: VDS (demanding better shape from his CB's), Rio and Vidic (telling their FB's and midfielders where to go), Scholes guiding Carrick and so on and so forth and the chain runs right through the team, and, more importantly, through the spine of the side. You watch us when dealing with a counter now and you barely see communication and organisation, which is why so many goals we concede look comical and have you ask how has that happened even when the odds are in our favour?

McTominay has lost a lot of his formative years of development to this and been thrust out there as a first-team starter with half an education under his belt. He's having to figure out the most difficult position on the pitch by himself, in-game, in a team that is extremely disorganised and prone to panicking in the first instance and compounding on that as the pressure rises. He quickly goes down with the ship and disappears, essentially, always out of sync with the play around him and failing to support someone or other in the chain. Coaching is one thing, even with excellent coaches, theory is removed from practical, which is why even top coaches ensure they have mentors for younger players even when well drilled in the coaching theory. Implementation under fire is a whole other ball game and highly likely to crumble and after the first few attempts at resilience look like they're not working - players immediately revert to type at that juncture and start their scrambling in what they know best. I'd say, the more the pressure is on, the further forward McTominay goes... instinctively reckoning he can affect the game in an offensive capacity and not a defensive one irrespective of whatever instruction he has been issued. I think you see in games that get away from us, the moments when best laid plains evaporate and we go off script.

I feel McTominay was always a worthy understudy whose best role would have been coming off the bench and contributing in a better controlled environment. He's not a starter, but he may have gotten there, Fletcher-style, with the right mentoring at the right times, but that's no longer possible and he'll probably never fulfill the potential he once had, unfortunately. I wouldn't have a problem with him sticking around as a bench option, but raising the bar from what he is to what is needed to be a bona fide starter who can ward off expensive midfield purchases is just not there for him anymore, in my opinion.

It's no surprise that in a dysfunctional team, he looks worse than we've seen in the past - he had a very simple, yet essential role in seasons gone by: simply sweeping up behind Fred with aggression and gusto and then either passing the ball on or driving back up the pitch with it. Fred's form has collapsed and holes that haven't been there in the past are now gaping and McTominay has to think more, read the play quicker and better and be more independent with his game than ever to compensate, which, we've no evidence he's capable of. I personally feel he's also not fit and has been rushed back into the team prematurely, which obviously compounds matters.

Ultimately, McTominay probably isn't good enough for special considerations and nurturing, but he could still have a role here even with two proper midfielders coming him and him coming into the fold from the bench. At his age, he mightn't want to see his playing time reduce from starter to sporadic sub, but it's about the best he can hope for in a proper United xi.
 

Godfather

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I'd say McT might be the least suitable candidate of all our midfield options for the sole holding position. By quite a margin as well.
 

Kostov

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What a stupid idea. Guy who lacks technique and struggles,to make a simple pass, we will try to make a holding midfield. From all our midfielders (including Bruno and Lingard as amcs), McT is the worst option for alone no6
I disagree, Fred is worse. In reality both are way way of the required standard.
 

izec

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Neither him nor Fred are DMs or sitters. Box to box players. Good luck trying to convert them, when neither have the tools. Question remarks remain also on the 2 coaches if they themselves are good enough.
 

Raven

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I'd love to see him become our main man in midfield, he seems like a great lad, but he's just not shown anywhere near the quality for that to be possible.
 

Isotope

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McTominay's biggest problem, imo, was - and is - coming through in a team with no mentors to teach and monitor his game and force corrections on a game-by-game basis in the first team in the real time so many have had throughout the years here. Fletcher is gushing in his praise of Keane for this, and that kind of in-game coaching is invaluable to younger players. It's something that happens all over the world in top teams, but as we haven't been one of those for a long while, nor have we had many truly world class players for the younger ones to learn from, we've been out of this loop for a while, and I think it shows with a number of our younger players, the likes of: Wan Bissaka, Rashford and Lingard (not a youngster, but has gone through the same thing) who have had to figure things out by themselves with no real constructive criticism coming from team-mates in-game. You can put Martial in that grouping along with anyone who came or started young, actually.

Contrast someone like Wan Bissaka with the governance Rafael got with Rio on his inside and Scholes telling him where to go once he broke from defence. It's a world of difference.

I often feel McTominay looks lost out there and doesn't really know what he's supposed to be doing; when he's wandering around the pitch in no real position to affect the play, he has no-one out there telling him to take up a more useful position; when we're in the thick of a counter-attack, where everyone is scrambling around headlessly, there's nobody demanding X, Y, Z stand here or there or cover wide open spaces - contrast that to a team with: VDS (demanding better shape from his CB's), Rio and Vidic (telling their FB's and midfielders where to go), Scholes guiding Carrick and so on and so forth and the chain runs right through the team, and, more importantly, through the spine of the side. You watch us when dealing with a counter now and you barely see communication and organisation, which is why so many goals we concede look comical and have you ask how has that happened even when the odds are in our favour?

McTominay has lost a lot of his formative years of development to this and been thrust out there as a first-team starter with half an education under his belt. He's having to figure out the most difficult position on the pitch by himself, in-game, in a team that is extremely disorganised and prone to panicking in the first instance and compounding on that as the pressure rises. He quickly goes down with the ship and disappears, essentially, always out of sync with the play around him and failing to support someone or other in the chain. Coaching is one thing, even with excellent coaches, theory is removed from practical, which is why even top coaches ensure they have mentors for younger players even when well drilled in the coaching theory. Implementation under fire is a whole other ball game and highly likely to crumble and after the first few attempts at resilience look like they're not working - players immediately revert to type at that juncture and start their scrambling in what they know best. I'd say, the more the pressure is on, the further forward McTominay goes... instinctively reckoning he can affect the game in an offensive capacity and not a defensive one irrespective of whatever instruction he has been issued. I think you see in games that get away from us, the moments when best laid plains evaporate and we go off script.

I feel McTominay was always a worthy understudy whose best role would have been coming off the bench and contributing in a better controlled environment. He's not a starter, but he may have gotten there, Fletcher-style, with the right mentoring at the right times, but that's no longer possible and he'll probably never fulfill the potential he once had, unfortunately. I wouldn't have a problem with him sticking around as a bench option, but raising the bar from what he is to what is needed to be a bona fide starter who can ward off expensive midfield purchases is just not there for him anymore, in my opinion.

It's no surprise that in a dysfunctional team, he looks worse than we've seen in the past - he had a very simple, yet essential role in seasons gone by: simply sweeping up behind Fred with aggression and gusto and then either passing the ball on or driving back up the pitch with it. Fred's form has collapsed and holes that haven't been there in the past are now gaping and McTominay has to think more, read the play quicker and better and be more independent with his game than ever to compensate, which, we've no evidence he's capable of. I personally feel he's also not fit and has been rushed back into the team prematurely, which obviously compounds matters.

Ultimately, McTominay probably isn't good enough for special considerations and nurturing, but he could still have a role here even with two proper midfielders coming him and him coming into the fold from the bench. At his age, he mightn't want to see his playing time reduce from starter to sporadic sub, but it's about the best he can hope for in a proper United xi.
He has had Herrera and Matic. They both are pretty close to class players. Then Carrick has been his coach for years, as good as DM/CM you could find in the last decade.

McTom has been on the side for years. And under Ole, most of his duty is screening the defence. The sample size is so huge that he's bad to average at doing it. I'm sure over those years, he's been coached on how to do defensive side. Now i'm not sure what kind of coaching will make a difference.

But it's better than nothing, i guess. Which is sad, after spending ~430m in 3 summers, we still have McTom's class as DM (and Fred as the other one).
 
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Robbie Boy

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I've always much preferred him as a B2B midfielder. He's clearly not really suited to the role he plays. I do think he's immensely improved as a player under Ole, though.
 
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luke511

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I'd love to see him become our main man in midfield, he seems like a great lad, but he's just not shown anywhere near the quality for that to be possible.
He's not even close to being Scotland's main man in midfield, they prefer McGinn, McGregor and Gilmour at CM over him.
 

Raven

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He's not even close to being Scotland's main man in midfield, they prefer McGinn, McGregor and Gilmour at CM over him.
This is what I'm talking about. He can be a potentially useful squad player for us I don't really see him being the answer to our midfield problems.