The resounding call, echoing after Scott McTominay’s pivotal two-goal performance against Brentford, was, “Get Scott McTominay in the team; he scores goals.” He swiftly demonstrated this ability once again by breaking the deadlock and giving Manchester United a 1-0 lead against Sheffield United.
However, in the same breath, he was unfortunate to concede a penalty due to a handball, a risk that any player can encounter under the current rules.
Yet, the real concern with Scott McTominay’s recent showing extended beyond his goal-scoring prowess. It was a genuine lack of contribution in areas other than finding the back of the net.
Reviewing Scott McTominay’s statistics against Sheffield United, he formed one-half of the often-criticized ‘McFred’ midfield pairing, which had left many Manchester United fans feeling unimpressed. Individually, neither he nor Fred were considered poor players, but when together, they seemed to lack something essential.
Throughout this season, McTominay has had his share of off-days amid his moments of brilliance. This particular match exemplified the enigmatic nature of his performances, puzzling manager Erik ten Hag.
The Scotland international’s contribution mainly came through goal-scoring, but as a midfielder, he fell short in other aspects. Prior to his substitution in the 63rd minute against Sheffield United, McTominay completed a mere eight passes and had only 18 touches in total. Such limited influence on the game did not align with Erik ten Hag’s vision for Manchester United’s midfield control.
In stark contrast, his replacement, Christian Eriksen, excelled by completing 24 passes in just 27 minutes and notching up 31 touches overall. Although Eriksen did not find the net, it posed a conundrum: McTominay brings goals, but what else?
McTominay’s inability to establish control in midfield played a role in Sheffield United gaining confidence during the initial hour of the match. This game presented a significant opportunity for him, especially with Casemiro sidelined due to injury. However, the issue lies in the potential categorization of McTominay as a luxury player for Erik ten Hag. He might be called upon when goals are direly needed but could prove unreliable as a regular starter.
Ten Hag’s philosophy emphasizes team control, and this was not truly evident until Eriksen entered the field, orchestrating midfield passes more effectively.
While McTominay undoubtedly possesses valuable attributes, his statistical performance in this match was more reminiscent of a striker rather than a midfielder.