Jose Mourinho’s controversial claim over Man Utd’s ‘best player’ is ageing well

Scott McTominay shows off incredible crossbar challenge at home

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Jose Mourinho described Scott McTominay as Manchester United’s ‘best player’ – and the Tottenham manager’s comment is ageing well. Mourinho gave McTominay his debut for the Premier League giants against Arsenal in 2017, and since then the midfielder has become one of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s most trusted players.

McTominay is suspended for Thursday night’s Europa League quarter-final clash against Granada after being booked as United won the first leg 2-0 in Andalusia last week.

Solskjaer will be confident his side can get by without McTominay, as well as Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw who are also suspended.

But there is no doubt the Scotland international has become a big player in United’s engine room.

Former United boss Mourinho recognised McTominay’s qualities shortly after taking over from Mauricio Pochettino as Spurs boss.

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Asked in December 2019 if he felt past criticism of his treatment of young players was fair, Mourinho told a press conference, “Scott McTominay is only the best player at Manchester United,” before adding with tongue firmly in cheek: “Yes, it’s fair criticism.”

Many might not consider McTominay to be the “best” player at Old Trafford – especially with Bruno Fernandes having taken Solskjaer’s side to a new level with his performances over the past 14 months or so.

But the 24-year-old is proving his importance in his best season yet for United, having helped the Red Devils go seven points clear in second place in the race for Champions League qualification.

McTominay has carved out a regular role as one of two midfield pivots under Solskjaer – despite fierce competition in United’s midfield ranks from Fred, Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic.


He has also chipped in with crucial goals despite playing from a deep position, having scored seven in all competitions this season including two in a 6-2 win over Leeds United back in December.

The academy graduate has already recorded new season-bests in terms of games played, goals scored and assists – and has helped avert danger in front of United’s defence.

Although suspended for the second leg against Granada, he will have a crucial role to play over the rest of the season as United aim to keep up the pressure on league leaders City, secure a Champions League spot and win the Europa League.

He will also be a big player for Scotland in this summer’s delayed Euro 2020 finals.

It looks like Mourinho was right about McTominay – so no wonder the midfielder looks upon his former manager as an important mentor.

“I don’t want to speak too much about previous managers, but Jose’s very special to me,” McTominay told Sky Sports in October last year.

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“He still keeps in contact with me now and keeps in touch with me after games and different things like that.

“I owe a tremendous amount of credit to him, because if it wasn’t for him, I might not be sat in this seat.”

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