Jose Mourinho has once again heaped praise on Scott McTominay following the youngster’s display against Liverpool, insisting his humble nature was key to his success at Old Trafford this season.
The 21-year-old made his senior debut back in May and earned a regular place in the first team squad following confident displays over pre-season.
And he has taken superb steps this season, coming in for the injured pair of Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini in recent times to produce combative performances in wins over Chelsea and Liverpool.
Speaking ahead of Man United’s clash with Sevilla, Mourinho was quick to shower praise on ‘The Kid’ for his impeccable attitude to progressing as a footballer.
“He’s playing well,” he said. “He’s using every minute on the pitch and outside the pitch to learn. He’s humble – he wants to learn. He doesn’t want headlines or flashes.”
“He just wants to work, improve and be useful for his team. He was progressively getting chances to play. He got the injuries of Michael Carrick, [Marouane] Fellaini, [Paul] Pogba, [Ander] Herrera – basically all of the midfield players had one injury during the season and he was getting minutes and getting experience.
“The best way to improve is to be on the pitch, of course, but he’s a good learner and I remember his beginnings when sometimes he was not even on the bench but I was taking him with the team as the extra player.
“I remember clearly him in the meetings, in the dressing room at half-time eating every word, listening to every thing. So I think his humble nature is what is making him a good player for us.”
Mourinho is a man who, contrary to popular belief, clearly admires the qualities of young players: that sense of fearlessness, a desire to be a sponge, taking everything possible in.
Some players of McTominay’s age do not have this mentality, however. Those who progress fast through the ranks – players like Ravel Morrison, who were always the best of their age group – can often reach the big time and believe the job is done, that they have everything figured out.
This is not McTominay – the boy who came from almost nowhere, never capped at any international level, and still making his case to supporters. He will, no doubt, only continue to work inexorably towards improving.