Erik ten Hag is particularly keen to get rid of a few players. Fred was released after being dropped off the club’s pre-season tour. Donny van de Beek was left out of the matchday squad for the first game of the season, while Eric Bailly has been told he may leave for free if a club is willing to take him on.
Scott McTominay’s circumstance is significantly different. He is a player who United would consider selling if a substantial offer came in, but Ten Hag is content to employ him while he is still at the club.
McTominay demonstrated this on Monday night when he came off the bench in the final minutes of Manchester United’s 1-0 victory over Wolves.
Scott McTominay might be required.
Scott McTominay came on as a second-half substitute as Manchester United attempted to close out the game and adopt a more defensive strategy.
He was the only defensive midfielder available to Casemiro, and we’ve seen through the years that this isn’t McTominay’s finest position; he thrives more in a box-to-box role where he, too, can get forward. However, in comparison to other choices, McTominay is United’s finest Casemiro backup right now.
McTominay will currently play a larger role in games when United must be significantly less reckless.
The vast open spaces in midfield created by Mason Mount and Bruno Fernandes created a 4-1-5 formation in attack for United against Wolves.
Erik ten Hag is expected to reconsider the visit to Tottenham on Saturday night, and McTominay might be a viable option. The Scotland international will play a part until United adds another defensive midfielder to the group.
Last season, United’s weakness was away games.
Last season, Manchester United only dropped one point to teams in the Premier League’s top nine. Too often, the team was too open and lacked the attacking ability to respond.
United’s best bet may be to start Scott McTominay alongside Casemiro.
The much-maligned McFred midfield needed to be dismantled, but it did provide a solid defensive foundation on which United could grow.
The danger of not playing McTominay this weekend is greater than the risk of starting him.
If that means that just one of Bruno Fernandes or Mason Mount can start, or that one must play wide, so be it.
It would be somewhat surprised if McTominay ends up with such an important role after all of the summer talk about his departure, but this is where the current team makeup has left us.