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Fortitude

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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).
Neither Herrera or Matic are in the class I'm talking about, but what's important to note about Matic is that he really fell off a cliff here rather quickly with a swift decline that has meant he can cater only to his own game and not be a masterful player in control of what he does whilst having eyes on others. Matic has struggled to keep up with the play for a full game for a long time now, so it'd be very hard to dictate to others when he can't even get what he needs to done over 90 minutes.

I'd say it's a real concern if the masterplan was/is to turn McTominay into a DM when all his instincts and energy are in stark contrast to the discipline, intelligence and concentration needed to play the role.

To the bolded, no, I don't think it is - forcing a round peg into a square hole in a team who already have mammoth problems in the centre of the pitch is compounding problems not alleviating them - it'll also lead to McTominay being slaughtered for his errors and lack of nous at a time when he needs his confidence building. If he had a modicum of aptitude for the role, it'd make sense, but he's barely aware of his two-way duties as a CM, let alone a defensive midfielder whose entire game is structured around doing the right things at the right times whilst maintaining extremely high levels of ball retention when winning it back. None of those things are McTominay.

With all the money spent on surplus, it makes no sense to me why it wasn't diverted to the centre of the pitch. Diallo, Pellestri, Van de Beek plus the plethora of contract renewals and extensions could have gotten us one top notch player or two very good ones, and instead we hear talk of putting an instinctively attacking player into arguably the most critical role on the pitch.
 

Isotope

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Neither Herrera or Matic are in the class I'm talking about, but what's important to note about Matic is that he really fell off a cliff here rather quickly with a swift decline that has meant he can cater only to his own game and not be a masterful player in control of what he does whilst having eyes on others. Matic has struggled to keep up with the play for a full game for a long time now, so it'd be very hard to dictate to others when he can't even get what he needs to done over 90 minutes.

I'd say it's a real concern if the masterplan was/is to turn McTominay into a DM when all his instincts and energy are in stark contrast to the discipline, intelligence and concentration needed to play the role.

To the bolded, no, I don't think it is - forcing a round peg into a square hole in a team who already have mammoth problems in the centre of the pitch is compounding problems not alleviating them - it'll also lead to McTominay being slaughtered for his errors and lack of nous at a time when he needs his confidence building. If he had a modicum of aptitude for the role, it'd make sense, but he's barely aware of his two-way duties as a CM, let alone a defensive midfielder whose entire game is structured around doing the right things at the right times whilst maintaining extremely high levels of ball retention when winning it back. None of those things are McTominay.

With all the money spent on surplus, it makes no sense to me why it wasn't diverted to the centre of the pitch. Diallo, Pellestri, Van de Beek plus the plethora of contract renewals and extensions could have gotten us one top notch player or two very good ones, and instead we hear talk of putting an instinctively attacking player into arguably the most critical role on the pitch.
Agreed 100%. Just like Fred, he's a good player for doing specific role. That EL final was one of his best game, where his role was clearly box to box, providing energy like Khedira.

And just like in the bolded part, i'm afraid this will be like shoehorning Park Ji Sung to CM in that Blackburn game. I'll be happy if he's doing well, and feel indifferent if he's doing bad.
 

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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.
and well they should. Technical skills are far more valuable. Keep the ball. Make the other team do the running. From what I can see they use him as a CB and he’s not great. He’s just an average ball player with above average physical stats and a driven personality. He’s not going to become a monster player.
 

Adnan

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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.
Good post and I appreciate your thoughts, like always. But I'm gonna give you my view regarding McTominay's potential as a Manchester United starting player and will explain why I don't believe he's the answer and never was the answer. I'm not gonna sugar coat anything here and will call a spade a spade from my POV.

Darren Fletcher was a far superior talent coming through the ranks at United in comparison to McTominay who was as average as one can be IMO. And I come to that conclusion after watching the lad play numerous times when he was coming through the ranks. He was never anything special and didn't have a single redeeming quality for a midfielder IMO. But we as a club suffered post Fergie due to the instability changing managers caused which was due to not having a fully functioning recruitment department IMO which meant the football side was controlled by the manager. Which inturn also meant McTominay was brought through by Mourinho at a time when there was rumours of discontent within the dressing room, which came as a big surprise to me and lots of others who follow the youth. Some say it was because McTominay had grown significantly tall which Mourinho valued due to the physical aspects he liked in his teams.

He's gonna turn 25 soon and if we're honest he shouldn't be starting games for a club that has aspirations to win the league. Technically he's not good enough IMO and tactically he's also not good enough from the evidence at hand. But it does seem like Solskjaer doesn't mind having players in the team who aren't technically good on the ball hence we see the like of McFred and a few others get significant playing time as first team players.

The issue here is our approach to the game which seems to revolve around football from the 80s and 90s, which relied on two box to box mids and it wasn't a approach overly reliant on the fullbacks in the build up phase. And that's why we won't challenge for the title IMO. And until we bring in a high quality coach who encourages technical excellence on the ball we won't challenge for the league.
 
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Polar

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With all the money spent on surplus, it makes no sense to me why it wasn't diverted to the centre of the pitch.
Probably United’s main targets weren’t available for a reasonable price? I’m sure our midfield problem is identified, but we ain’t willing to gamble buying someone who isn’t very likely to make an impact. Waiting for the right player makes sense in the longer run.
 

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This thread has turned into a real shit show.
Bit like our midfield then. Although I think there has been some pretty decent discussion in here of late.
 

Fortitude

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Agreed 100%. Just like Fred, he's a good player for doing specific role. That EL final was one of his best game, where his role was clearly box to box, providing energy like Khedira.

And just like in the bolded part, i'm afraid this will be like shoehorning Park Ji Sung to CM in that Blackburn game. I'll be happy if he's doing well, and feel indifferent if he's doing bad.
Yes, McTominay's shown at his best that he can work high and aggressively in behind Fred whilst having a decent shot on him and the occasional good through pass, what he hasn't shown is the ability to be his own man thinking independently and removed from what's going on - like when a game slows down and subtle timing and composure in actions is needed to see the holes and opportunities. That's when we see him force the play, more often than not, which is something associative of players who are naturals high up the pitch and not the first instinct of proper midfielders who are taught to treasure the ball primarily and if they can't get it forward, make damn sure they retain it or move it on to a teammate even if it's a lateral or 'negative' pass.

I don't know how you instill that thought process in a player, as, for the most part, you either have that in you, or you don't, and far better players than McTominay have 'failed' in being converted to midfielders because it goes against their instincts, particularly under pressure in a stressful game.
Probably United’s main targets weren’t available for a reasonable price? I’m sure our midfield problem is identified, but we ain’t willing to gamble buying someone who isn’t very likely to make an impact. Waiting for the right player makes sense in the longer run.
It doesn't add up - we've renewed contracts that, put together, would get you an elite midfielder and, if you combine the total cost of the players I mentioned, you're talking a £70m-80m+ player on fee alone. In our position going into the season, we did not have the option to sit out and wait on specific players - even if we couldn't obtain targets, there could have been a veteran/loan etc. or two brought in who would have fortified us and at least given us a rotation to select and pair off. That would have alleviated the pressure on Fred (not being our only runner); McTominay (given him time to recover from his operation properly without being rushed straight back into the fold for lack of options); Matic, in enabling us to use him in a complementary manner with less running and more utilisation of what he still excels at; Pogba, too, would have benefited.

It's not an area of the pitch you gamble with; you look at the teams we're supposedly challenging for the title against, and the one area they stack is midfield, as what good is a team without an engine?
 

Fortitude

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Good post and I appreciate your thoughts, like always. But I'm gonna give you my view regarding McTominay's potential as a Manchester United starting player and will explain why I don't believe he's the answer and never was the answer. I'm not gonna sugar coat anything here and will call a spade a spade from my POV.

Darren Fletcher was a far superior talent coming through the ranks at United in comparison to McTominay who was as average as one can be IMO. And I come to that conclusion after watching the lad play numerous times when he was coming through the ranks. He was never anything special and didn't have a single redeeming quality for a midfielder IMO. But we as a club suffered post Fergie due to the instability changing managers caused which was due to not having a fully functioning recruitment department IMO which meant the football side was controlled by the manager. Which inturn also meant McTominay was brought through by Mourinho at a time when there was rumours of discontent within the dressing room, which came as a big surprise to me and lots of others who follow the youth. Some say it was because McTominay had grown significantly tall which Mourinho valued due to the physical aspects he liked in his teams.

He's gonna turn 25 soon and if we're honest he shouldn't be starting games for a club that has aspirations to win the league. Technically he's not good enough IMO and tactically he's also not good enough from the evidence at hand. But it does seem like Solskjaer doesn't mind having players in the team who aren't technically good on the ball hence we see the like of McFred and a few others get significant playing time as first team players.

The issue here is our approach to the game which seems to revolve around football from the 80s and 90s, which relied on two box to box mids and it wasn't a approach overly reliant on the fullbacks in the build up phase. And that's why we won't challenge for the title IMO. And until we bring in a high quality coach who encourages technical excellence on the ball we won't challenge for the league.
Agreed Fletcher was always a different class to McTominay, and even when coming through was being harshly contrasted against two of the best midfielders in Europe, let alone the league, so he wasn't being fairly or objectively assessed during his development, My point, though, wasn't about the outright quality of the player(s), but rather how the team they are in can impact on their development and take them from lacking to excelling if given the conditions to do so - at the very least, to optimise themselves and give the best showing they are capable of, which is something we've sorely lacked since the decline, post-Fergie and I think all of our youngsters have suffered for it, even the ones who have gone on to establish themselves.

I think you see what players have had instilled in them when it's backs to the wall and a game really demands everything of them mentally as well as physically, and more often than not, ours capitulate when the pressure is on and the onus is on them to think outside the box and rely on what they've been trained to do - in part, it sees us fall short in the highly pressurised, decisive games where our players and play do not look well oiled, or more importantly, assured in what they're doing. Sometimes you'll lose, even at your best, but there's a distinction between that and looking like you're not at the races in the first place, which is where we find ourselves to often for comfort.

I agree with most of your post, but I think most would agree that McTominay isn't a starter in a proper United xi. I think most wouldn't have any qualms with him doing a job off the bench or being an understudy, however. What's interesting is we don't really know what the manager wants from the market as he's not gone in for a top talent there since arriving. From his words, you're probably not wrong, however, but until(if he gets the chance to) he gets his feet wet and commits to a player or two, we won't know for certain.
 

Polar

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In our position going into the season, we did not have the option to sit out and wait on specific players
Depends on United’s time frame and the plan they have decided to follow.

If the plan says United should win PL this season, it’s very strange that we didn’t buy a CM in the summer window.

If the stated goal is to win PL next season, it makes sense to wait for their preferred targets to become available.

Supporters often are more impatient (short term goals), but I suspect United also this season focus to build and keep their head above water result wise.

We can off course discuss what is acceptable in this regard, but I don’t expect us to win PL or CL title this year, and I neither think United has planned to win those titles this season.
 

Bebestation

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Fletcher was always a Meh player when arguably still playing for the greatest manager of all time. In an era that didn't even have competition of Pep, Klopp and Tuchel in the league. No where near the types of players spread across the league like you do today.

Mctominay under SAF would have been better.

Hindsight and all.

Watched a goal where Fletcher scored a goal where all he had to do was run straight in to the box, not too fast, not too slow and Carrick picked him out. Finished it off. Mctominay could do that if he had a Carrick and a SAF. It's like pressing hadn't been invented or something watching the highlights.

Im not pretending like Oshea's and Fletchers and cleverleys, and Welblecks were all great and we never lost a game.
 
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Fortitude

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Depends on United’s time frame and the plan they have decided to follow.

If the plan says United should win PL this season, it’s very strange that we didn’t buy a CM in the summer window.

If the stated goal is to win PL next season, it makes sense to wait for their preferred targets to become available.

Supporters often are more impatient (short term goals), but I suspect United also this season focus to build and keep their head above water result wise.

We can off course discuss what is acceptable in this regard, but I don’t expect us to win PL or CL title this year, and I neither think United has planned to win those titles this season.
There's no way we entice Ronaldo (especially with the amount of good years he has left) and Varane here with suggestions of 'the year after next' - we're a title-challenging squad as is, even with the problematic midfield, I think.

What you also haven't factored in is that 'waiting' and building on what we have mightn't be an option if our top players then become disillusioned and want out in the interim. It's a gamble in itself to assume all will be rosy in the garden if this campaign wastes yet another year for players who could genuinely challenge for titles elsewhere.

Renewing players who don't play and are peripheral as well as signing players on top of players already for the same position (Diallo, Pellestri on top of Sancho?), plus bringing in a midfielder who we don't use all adds up to illogical procedure. Our squad is as bloated as it's ever been and of course, on the wages we've dished out, a number of players we have here simply can't be moved on because they won't find an equivalent wage anywhere else.

If there was a budget, 'wasting' it on players we don't need over players we are desperate for makes no sense. The timelines are baffling, really. Even if we accept there is some stellar, singular player we're holding out for, there's no reason not to still add some experienced, relatively cheap talent to the most important area of the pitch, especially in light of our clear ongoing problems with Matic not getting any younger; Fred having literally no cover for his role; VdB not being used and McTominay needing an operation. Those are some fine, risky lines to be gambling with even if everything is going well, let alone when variables like form, fitness and [lack of] chemistry are thrown into the mix.
 

United in sin

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Fletcher was always a Meh player when arguably still playing for the greatest manager of all time. In an era that didn't even have competition of Pep, Klopp and Tuchel in the league. No where near the types of players spread across the league like you do today.

Mctominay under SAF would have been better.

Hindsight and all.

Watched a goal where Fletcher scored a goal where all he had to do was run straight in to the box, not too fast, not too slow and Carrick picked him out. Finished it off. Mctominay could do that if he had a Carrick and a SAF. It's like pressing hadn't been invented or something watching the highlights.

Im not pretending like Oshea's and Fletchers and cleverleys, and Welblecks were all great and we never lost a game.
The main points I'm getting from this is that you think McTominay would've shined under SAF because the league was weak/had less quality opponents and that Fletcher was as useful as Cleverly and Welbeck!

Do you also think Fergie benefited from a smaller spread of quality players in the league than we see today? I think most of our current squad/bench players would play a role in a Fergie title winning squad when it comes down to it. Phil Neville managed it! Darren Ferguson even won a PL medal. McTominay is not good enough for what we need if are to challenge our major rivals for titles IMO.
 

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The main points I'm getting from this is that you think McTominay would've shined under SAF because the league was weak/had less quality opponents and that Fletcher was as useful as Cleverly and Welbeck!

Do you also think Fergie benefited from a smaller spread of quality players in the league than we see today? I think most of our current squad/bench players would play a role in a Fergie title winning squad when it comes down to it. Phil Neville managed it! Darren Ferguson even won a PL medal. McTominay is not good enough for what we need if are to challenge our major rivals for titles IMO.
Everyone is thinking Mctominay is shit because he is currently playing like the main midfielder of Manchester United when he shouldn't be.

I'm sure the thoughts wouldnt be much different with Fletcher at 24/25 playing next to Fred for Ole or even Phil Neville doing the same.

Mctominay shouldn't be the main midfielder at United. He'd have much more appropriate love if he was playing like Fletcher or Phil Neville were used by SAF.

Instead he is being used as a major player - getting major blame.

I'm seeing news articles about how this John Mginn from Aston Villa is SAF'S dreams midfielder from the whole of the Premier League. It just kind of says alot.
 

Adnan

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Everyone is thinking Mctominay is shit because he is currently playing like the main midfielder of Manchester United when he shouldn't be.

I'm sure the thoughts wouldnt be much different with Fletcher at 24/25 playing next to Fred for Ole or even Phil Neville doing the same.

Mctominay shouldn't be the main midfielder at United. He'd have much more appropriate love if he was playing like Fletcher or Phil Neville were used by SAF.

Instead he is being used as a major player - getting major blame.

I'm seeing news articles about how this John Mginn from Aston Villa is SAF'S dreams midfielder from the whole of the Premier League. It just kind of says alot.
Fletcher was actually rated highly among the coaching staff and there were reports Fergie even wanted to debut him at 15. From a technical level Fletcher was much better than McTominay who was very average in the youth teams IMO.

McGinn is a better footballer than both McTominay and Fred put together. And it's why he starts ahead of McTominay for Scotland.
 

Trequarista10

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Fletcher was always a Meh player when arguably still playing for the greatest manager of all time. In an era that didn't even have competition of Pep, Klopp and Tuchel in the league. No where near the types of players spread across the league like you do today.

Mctominay under SAF would have been better.

Hindsight and all.

Watched a goal where Fletcher scored a goal where all he had to do was run straight in to the box, not too fast, not too slow and Carrick picked him out. Finished it off. Mctominay could do that if he had a Carrick and a SAF. It's like pressing hadn't been invented or something watching the highlights.

Im not pretending like Oshea's and Fletchers and cleverleys, and Welblecks were all great and we never lost a game.
Fletchers peak, which was short lived due to his illness, was considerably higher than McTominays level so far. Fletchers early years sure they were around the same level but Fletcher had about 18-24 months where he really pushed on a couple levels, at age 25/26, he was in the PL team of the year, was instrumental in big games with his drive, but also added more composure on the ball and was just as good in possession.

If it wasn't for his illness Fletcher would be held in much higher esteem. If McTominay can reach Fletchers level of 2009-2010 then he would be a very good player, he's some way off currently though.
 

Marwood

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Fletchers peak, which was short lived due to his illness, was considerably higher than McTominays level so far. Fletchers early years sure they were around the same level but Fletcher had about 18-24 months where he really pushed on a couple levels, at age 25/26, he was in the PL team of the year, was instrumental in big games with his drive, but also added more composure on the ball and was just as good in possession.

If it wasn't for his illness Fletcher would be held in much higher esteem. If McTominay can reach Fletchers level of 2009-2010 then he would be a very good player, he's some way off currently though.
Didn't Fletcher hit his peak in a three man midfield though?

I always thought he looked less of a player in a two, which came a bit later. Similar to McTominay actually.

Great moment for Scott tonight. Pleased for him after/during a spell of poor form.
 

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That's where we've been going wrong from corners... Forget the head, get scoring with yer knob.
 

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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.
How can you possibly have any opinion about that? Do you have any inside information? If not, you are just doing some rather far stretched guessing work here, based on pretty much nothing. We have an analysis team, and we have midfielders as coaches. I´d be shocked if he does not receive mentoring or corrections on game to game basis.

Rather, McTominays biggest problem - as evident also in his game for Scotland tonight - is his technical limitations, his first touch, his ability to control the ball, his dribbling skills etc. Secondly, because of his height, he´s a little slow in those short distance runs, which often causes him to be a little late into tackles. You think he´s going to win the ball, but instead the opponent runs away with it, or he ends up giving away a free kick. Some may be down to game smartness, but more often because he´s that tenth of a second too late.

He often gets criticised for his passing, however, but in this regard, I think he´s actually improved this season. And he´s not only doing easy sideways passes - as he often get criticised for - this season he has also been able to pass through lines, so I don´t agree his passings is the main problem (not that you said so).
 
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Adnan

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How can you possibly have any opinion about that? Do you have any inside information? If not, you are just doing some rather far stretched guessing work here, based on pretty much nothing. We have an analysis team, and we have midfielders as coaches. I´d be shocked if he does not receive mentoring or corrections on game to game basis.

Rather, McTominays biggest problem - as evident also in his game for Scotland tonight - is his technical limitations, his first touch, his ability to control the ball, his dribbling skills etc. Secondly, because of his height, he´s a little slow in those short distance runs, which often causes him to be a little late into tackles. You think he´s going to win the ball, but instead the opponent runs away with it, or he ends up giving away a free kick. Some may be down to game smartness, but more often because he´s that tenth of a second too late.

He often gets criticised for his passing, however, but in this regard, I think he´s actually improved this season. And he´s not only doing easy sideways passes - as he often get criticised for - this season he has also been able to pass through lines, so I don´t agree his passings is the main problem (not that you said so).
i think what Fortitude was saying is aimed at most youngsters that came through post Fergie during a time where we lost numerous big players. Which meant there wasn't experienced heads to guide/lead the younger players. I think it's a plausible presumption to make imo.

But I do agree with the rest of your post and it's alarming that Billy Gilmour who Chelsea have loaned out to Norwich is comfortably a better midfielder already at 20 years old.
 
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golden_blunder

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Good post and I appreciate your thoughts, like always. But I'm gonna give you my view regarding McTominay's potential as a Manchester United starting player and will explain why I don't believe he's the answer and never was the answer. I'm not gonna sugar coat anything here and will call a spade a spade from my POV.

Darren Fletcher was a far superior talent coming through the ranks at United in comparison to McTominay who was as average as one can be IMO. And I come to that conclusion after watching the lad play numerous times when he was coming through the ranks. He was never anything special and didn't have a single redeeming quality for a midfielder IMO. But we as a club suffered post Fergie due to the instability changing managers caused which was due to not having a fully functioning recruitment department IMO which meant the football side was controlled by the manager. Which inturn also meant McTominay was brought through by Mourinho at a time when there was rumours of discontent within the dressing room, which came as a big surprise to me and lots of others who follow the youth. Some say it was because McTominay had grown significantly tall which Mourinho valued due to the physical aspects he liked in his teams.

He's gonna turn 25 soon and if we're honest he shouldn't be starting games for a club that has aspirations to win the league. Technically he's not good enough IMO and tactically he's also not good enough from the evidence at hand. But it does seem like Solskjaer doesn't mind having players in the team who aren't technically good on the ball hence we see the like of McFred and a few others get significant playing time as first team players.

The issue here is our approach to the game which seems to revolve around football from the 80s and 90s, which relied on two box to box mids and it wasn't a approach overly reliant on the fullbacks in the build up phase. And that's why we won't challenge for the title IMO. And until we bring in a high quality coach who encourages technical excellence on the ball we won't challenge for the league.
And that’s where I disagree with you. Liverpool showed it can be done with a workmanlike midfield if the quality is elsewhere. Their midfield brought balance whereas ours because mcfred is not a good partnership brings imbalance especially when you factor in the Bruno and Pogba problem. The middle is completely out of balance. None of them really compliment each other’s game, and they really don’t fit together.
however I’m not of the same opinion as you that we need to get in 2 ballers in the middle, we will still be unbalanced with pogba and Bruno
 

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And that’s where I disagree with you. Liverpool showed it can be done with a workmanlike midfield if the quality is elsewhere. Their midfield brought balance whereas ours because mcfred is not a good partnership brings imbalance especially when you factor in the Bruno and Pogba problem. The middle is completely out of balance. None of them really compliment each other’s game, and they really don’t fit together.
however I’m not of the same opinion as you that we need to get in 2 ballers in the middle, we will still be unbalanced with pogba and Bruno
Liverpool did it with players who impressed at other clubs and were then bought to come into their midfield, unlike McTominay who didn't stand out as anything other than mediocre at youth level. They also had Jurgen Klopp who implemented a high pressing game style which meant he created conditions for his attack to thrive whilst maintaining a defensive balance with two CBs and a midfielder who were positionally strong to maintain a high line to thwart counters and also help enforce a high pressing game. Wijnaldum and Henderson may not be world beaters but were always comfortably better than McTominay. Billy Gilmour on loan to Norwich from Chelsea is also a better midfielder than McTominay who is utilised as a CB for Scotland but is deemed good enough to start in Manchester United's midfield.
 

Abraxas

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Liverpool did it with players who impressed at other clubs and were then bought to come into their midfield, unlike McTominay who didn't stand out as anything other than mediocre at youth level. They also had Jurgen Klopp who implemented a high pressing game style which meant he created conditions for his attack to thrive whilst maintaining a defensive balance with two CBs and a midfielder who were positionally strong to maintain a high line to thwart counters and also help enforce a high pressing game. Wijnaldum and Henderson may not be world beaters but were always comfortably better than McTominay. Billy Gilmour on loan to Norwich from Chelsea is also a better midfielder than McTominay who is utilised as a CB for Scotland but is deemed good enough to start in Manchester United's midfield.
He's probably deemed good enough because at this point in time he is good enough through sheer lack of options. He only has to beat what's in front of him in the squad.

Maybe McGinn is better than anybody we have. Maybe Scotland have rubbish CBs. There's probably a lot of reasons for the positions he occupies for club and country.

Also I don't think there is much relevance to what he did in the youth setup anymore. He's played enough games that it isn't really a reference point for anything except to acknowledge he's done pretty well if he wasn't a highly rated product.
 

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He's probably deemed good enough because at this point in time he is good enough through sheer lack of options. He only has to beat what's in front of him in the squad.

Maybe McGinn is better than anybody we have. Maybe Scotland have rubbish CBs. There's probably a lot of reasons for the positions he occupies for club and country.

Also I don't think there is much relevance to what he did in the youth setup anymore. He's played enough games that it isn't really a reference point for anything except to acknowledge he's done pretty well if he wasn't a highly rated product.
That's understandable but we need to aim higher, if we want to compete for the big trophies. We need to prioritize technical excellence over grit and determination which is something that the likes of Bayern, City etc have in abundance along with the other key ingredients which make for a well oiled machine.
 

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Liverpool did it with players who impressed at other clubs and were then bought to come into their midfield, unlike McTominay who didn't stand out as anything other than mediocre at youth level. They also had Jurgen Klopp who implemented a high pressing game style which meant he created conditions for his attack to thrive whilst maintaining a defensive balance with two CBs and a midfielder who were positionally strong to maintain a high line to thwart counters and also help enforce a high pressing game. Wijnaldum and Henderson may not be world beaters but were always comfortably better than McTominay. Billy Gilmour on loan to Norwich from Chelsea is also a better midfielder than McTominay who is utilised as a CB for Scotland but is deemed good enough to start in Manchester United's midfield.
We all know that if we had better players McT or Fred for that matter should be upgraded on.
I just disagree that we need 2 technical ballers, especially if the plan is still to persist with Pogba and Bruno in the same team.
If it were down to me, I’d let Pogba go, sell Fred and rebalance the midfield, pushing McT to squad. That’s where all our budget needs to go next time we’re buying. And it would be runners I’d invest in (higher ceiling than the 2 we have) since we have ballers coming through in Hannibal, pellestri and Galbraith
 

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We all know that if we had better players McT or Fred for that matter should be upgraded on.
I just disagree that we need 2 technical ballers, especially if the plan is still to persist with Pogba and Bruno in the same team.
If it were down to me, I’d let Pogba go, sell Fred and rebalance the midfield, pushing McT to squad. That’s where all our budget needs to go next time we’re buying. And it would be runners I’d invest in (higher ceiling than the 2 we have) since we have ballers coming through in Hannibal, pellestri and Galbraith
I think we're on the same page here GB. I'm not saying we should bring in two Marco Verratti's to play the deeper role, but we should look to bring in one player who is a ball player and the other being the more disciplined of the two imo. But they can both be technically strong in their own ways. The more disciplined one out of the two can also be someone who has the ability to keep it simple against a high press. And keeping the play ticking against such a aggressive press is a skill that I really like and which I consider as being technically excellent for a disciplined holding midfielder.
 

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We all know that if we had better players McT or Fred for that matter should be upgraded on.
I just disagree that we need 2 technical ballers, especially if the plan is still to persist with Pogba and Bruno in the same team.
If it were down to me, I’d let Pogba go, sell Fred and rebalance the midfield, pushing McT to squad. That’s where all our budget needs to go next time we’re buying. And it would be runners I’d invest in (higher ceiling than the 2 we have) since we have ballers coming through in Hannibal, pellestri and Galbraith
Or Just upgrade the full backs and try playing a diamond. Pogba will play a similar left sided midfielder. You don't sell players like Pogba without giving it a shot. Both Jose and Ole has mismanaged Pogba (in the sense they just don't know how to use him)

But I agree, the easiest solution is to let Pogba go and upgrade both Fred and McT.
 

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Everyone is thinking Mctominay is shit because he is currently playing like the main midfielder of Manchester United when he shouldn't be.

I'm sure the thoughts wouldnt be much different with Fletcher at 24/25 playing next to Fred for Ole or even Phil Neville doing the same.

Mctominay shouldn't be the main midfielder at United. He'd have much more appropriate love if he was playing like Fletcher or Phil Neville were used by SAF.

Instead he is being used as a major player - getting major blame.

I'm seeing news articles about how this John Mginn from Aston Villa is SAF'S dreams midfielder from the whole of the Premier League. It just kind of says alot.
Fletcher was a beast for about 18 months but that was it.
 

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Didn't Fletcher hit his peak in a three man midfield though?

I always thought he looked less of a player in a two, which came a bit later. Similar to McTominay actually.

Great moment for Scott tonight. Pleased for him after/during a spell of poor form.
Some of his best games especially early were in a 3, as we tended to play 3 against the big sides and Fletcher was used to press and win the ball. I'd agree early days he wasn't as good in a two, but the year he was in the PL team of the year he came into his own, and this was mostly in a 2. There were games he was pinging the ball around with ease. I think that's where he's underrated, as this was only 12-18 months, and then he faded due to the illness. At the time it wasn't initially known he had an illness and his previous form was dismissed as a purple patch. Knowing what we know now, it wasn't a purple patch, it was just him stepping up a couple levels in his mid 20s.
 

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That's understandable but we need to aim higher, if we want to compete for the big trophies. We need to prioritize technical excellence over grit and determination which is something that the likes of Bayern, City etc have in abundance along with the other key ingredients which make for a well oiled machine.
I think the management do know this, despite prioritising other signings. There have been enough links to midfielders and obvious media briefings around a midfield signing to suggest it's known but there is only so much that can be done at once.

Maybe it could have been done differently but it wasn't the only position that was weak, the whole squad needed some quite precise signings of a certain calibre so then it comes down to who is available and for what figures.

The disappointing thing to me is that McTominay is constantly lambasted which doesn't help anything and it's not as if he needs a kick up the arse. We know he's a bit short but there's still a certain amount he can give to the side. Hopefully the negativity doesn't make its way anywhere near stadiums.
 

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A huge amount of confirmation bias kicking in on this thread and to be fair its on both sides.
I watched his last game closely because I wanted to check out the things people say he is doing that they dont like.
First thing I noticed is that whenever he did something realy well there wasnt a peep on the match day thread, his first wayward pass resulted in a torrent of people slagging him off. I think people because they dont like him only ever see the mistakes.
I kept an eye out for him and the charge of hiding in midfield. I did notice one thing thats happening that could confuse people who havent played football at a decent level and its easy to see once you know the signs. He does slide sideways when our defenders are on the ball, to some it might look like he is hiding, to others they will understand as he slides sideways he drags his marker and creates a channel for the ball to be passed forward by our defenders. Its easy to spot when this is deliberate, he will not show and open body shape to our defenders as he moves, if he does want the ball he opens up with an angle that shows he can move forward on receiving. I think its something he does well.
The other glaring admission from his critics for the last game was any recognition of his involvement in our winning goal. He makes a shapr pass back inside while moving in an opposite direction which then enabled Greenwood to switch the ball quickly. Its not an easy pass, its technically difficult and also requires the vision and awareness to spot and complete the pass. However absolutely no mention of this pass by any of his detractors.
Pretty funny really.
 

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I think the management do know this, despite prioritising other signings. There have been enough links to midfielders and obvious media briefings around a midfield signing to suggest it's known but there is only so much that can be done at once.

Maybe it could have been done differently but it wasn't the only position that was weak, the whole squad needed some quite precise signings of a certain calibre so then it comes down to who is available and for what figures.

The disappointing thing to me is that McTominay is constantly lambasted which doesn't help anything and it's not as if he needs a kick up the arse. We know he's a bit short but there's still a certain amount he can give to the side. Hopefully the negativity doesn't make its way anywhere near stadiums.
I honestly hate doing this but otherwise i'd be lying to myself. I normally try and stay out of these performance threads which are riddled with battles between two factions who have taken a opposing view on any given player. So I normally let nature take it's course rather than get into a never ending game by game debate on any given player.