Why Scott McTominay deserves his place in the Manchester United starting line-up before Casemiro

Whether by chance or design, Manchester United Went to a big account to secure Casemiro this summer. The Brazilian is the first defensive midfielder signed by United since the summer of 2017, when they acquired him Nemanja Matic.

CasemiroTransfer fees and an extended contract suggest he will be a key player in Eric Ten Hag’s midfield in the coming years, yet he is still in his prime for United and has only played 51 minutes in his three substitute matches in Premier League.

“He’s new and he has to adapt to the team,” Ten Hag told Sky Sports before the victory. Arsenal Sunday. “He has to get used to my way of playing football. The other thing, Scott McTominay He plays really well.”

McTominay has always been a divisive figure among the United fan base. To some, he’s ‘McSauce’ or ‘McDominate’ – the brave academy owner and homegrown ambition who brings much-needed energy and aggressiveness into United’s midfield and could one day be a captain. He’s the man who went toe-to-toe with Neymar And don’t mind a bit of trash talking to boot.

Scott McTominay and Neymar


McTominay clashes with Neymar in 2020 (Photo: Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

For others, McTominay’s naivety when receiving and passing the ball is a hindrance and his physicality is often misleading. He’s the man who went toe-to-toe with Neymar… only for the Brazilian to go on and win Champions League Team game in December 2020.

For Ten Hag, McTominay appears to be an energetic midfielder who deserves to play ahead of the five-time Champions League winner. The Scotsman has done well in United’s recent winning streak in four straight games Christian Eriksen In midfield 4-2-3-1. Their partnership comes with clear responsibilities: Eriksen is the primary tool for United’s football progression and passing into the final third As McTominay steps in, he retrieves the ball and breaks up the opponent’s movements.

Against Arsenal, McTominay scored two successful tackles (from four attempts) and made four passes. Decent numbers for a player often chosen for his physical industry. His tactile map from the game shows the value of all actions to the team…

At times, McTominay might struggle to make himself available for passes from his teammates, but against Arsenal, he was better at avoiding the “shadow cap” and getting the ball when needed.

The midfielder also finished in the 90 minutes on Sunday with a pass completion rate of 100 percent. A look at McTominay’s traffic map shows a man taking advantage of Eriksen’s addition.

The Dane’s arrival reduced McTominay’s need to take the ball from midfield (as a passer). The majority of the 26 passes against Arsenal were sideways, with ball retention and possession recycling being prioritized over streak-breaking.

The victory over Arsenal saw McTominay earn his fourth booking of the season and could have been sent off for the challenge in Gabriel Jesus This was no different from the bodyslam from WWE. Throughout his United career, he has developed a habit of ‘earning’ one or two extra fouls before the referees punish him, but he will need to work on his timing when interfering.

McTominay plays well because he has fewer responsibilities compared to previous seasons, and he does those responsibilities well. The reasons why McTominay plays Casemiro are linked to a word – ‘automatic’ – used by Ten Hag before United’s victory over Leicester City last week.

A term commonly used by experienced managers in German football (Ten Hag is a former Bayern Munich reserve coach), “automatic” refers to open playing patterns that are practiced repeatedly in training until they become automated, like muscle memory.

There are defensive mechanisms (mostly in relation to team pressure) and offensive mechanisms (often concerned with spacing and team play when attacking the penalty area). More important is how they are practiced collectively, with player A often performing an action that causes player B to perform the next action in the sequence.

“You want to get into the routine. The first team did a good job, so we kept moving forward,” Ten Hag said of his decision to repeat the same starting lineup against Leicester earlier this month. “We have a lot of games coming up so other players will be involved.”

Casemiro, Gabriel Jesus


Casemiro puts pressure on Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus (Photo: Robbie Jay Barratt/AMA/Getty Images)

The longer the player trains and plays under Ten Hag, the more time he will have to get used to his mechanism. During his time at Ajax, Tin Hage preferred to stick to his starting lineup for league missions rather than turn around, and McTominay has more knowledge of the mechanics required in Tin Hage’s squad than Casemiro. AnthonyOn the other hand, he made his debut against Arsenal in part due to his knowledge of Tin Hag requirements from their time together at Ajax.

McTominay has slight tactical abilities on Casemiro but based on merit alone, he plays at a level that’s hard to let go of.

“When the team behaves well, when the players behave well, we have more than 11 starting players, and then you stay on the field, that’s clear,” said Tin Hag in his pre-match press conference for the Real Sociedad match on Thursday. European League.

“The team is improving but on the other hand, for the players who are not now in the team, we know that they can, at any moment, come in and do the job. And maybe they can do it better than the players who are.”

Another reason for McTominay’s continued presence on the side: At 6 feet 4 inches (193 cm), he was the tallest player in the starting lineup across his four-game winning streak.

Much has been said about Lisandro Martinez’s height But one short central defender does not make United a soft touch. However, in a starting lineup that now includes Martinez, 5ft and 6in Tyrell Malacia and others, McTominay’s presence is useful for aerial and set-piece duels.

The start of McTominay’s career is credited to his height – in 2015, he was 5 feet 6 inches tall and was considered an assistant striker at United’s academy. He was growing 10 inches over 18 months (14 inches over 2 years) before Jose Mourinho gave him a chance.

Scott McTominay, Eric Ten Hag


McTominay and Ten Hag after United beat Southampton (Photo: Ash Donilon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

McTominay’s height advantage does not guarantee him a place on Casemiro. The Brazilian’s physical strength and aerial prowess mean Ten Hag will eventually use him as a starter, once United have fine-tuned their collective defence.

Ten Hag has often stressed that no United player will start every game of his season and reiterated the need for more than 11 good players throughout 2022-23 in the previous Real Sociedad press conference.

“We have to win every game and we want to win every tournament, so we have to take everything very seriously. We don’t just have a team, we have a team, that’s clear. But we have to win every game. That’s the mentality that Manchester United need.” “.

Scott McTominay may one day make way for Casemiro in the starting line-up, but there is a way to pick the frequent Manchester United player.

(Top Image: James Williamson/AMA/Getty Images)

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