Scott McTominay has become Manchester United’s modern-day Darren Fletcher, says John O’Shea, with one “intense” Scotland international midfielder following in the footsteps of another. Home-grown stars have played integral roles for the Red Devils stretching back to the days of the fabled ‘Busby Babes’.
The ‘Class of ‘92’ took that approach to a new level, with the likes of David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, and the Neville brothers cementing legend status.
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Others have made fewer headlines, such as the Wes Brown and O’Shea, but they have been important parts of the fold. Fletcher once slipped into that category, with an unsung hero often called upon by Sir Alex Ferguson for big games that required United to gain control in the middle of the park.
McTominay has become a go-to man in the present, for Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with his value highlighted once again when netting twice inside the opening three minutes of a stunning 6-2 win over Leeds.
O’Shea believes the 24-year-old deserves to be placed in a talent pool alongside Fletcher, telling Stadium Astro of similarities between an all-action star of 2020-21 and a five-time Premier League title winner of the past: “It’s a great comparison because we mentioned high intensity, high pressure and also the quality with chipping in with important goals.
“Fletch was a huge part of that and the trust that Sir Alex had in him as well. Obviously being Scottish and in midfield helps the comparison too, but it’s similar styles of play. “It’s a great asset to have because that’s what is needed in the Premier League, that intensity and reliability, and Scott definitely has that.”
O’Shea added on McTominay, who stands alongside fellow academy graduates Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood in the United squad: “He’s just progressed so rapidly. The big thing for him now is, with the manager he has got, it’s a big thing to have trust from your manager.
“The manager now knows when he picks Scott McTominay that he has huge trust in him to go and apply whatever tactics or approach he has for that specific game. He has that in Scott and it’s a huge thing that will only grow.”
McTominay has helped United into the third spot in the Premier League table, with O’Shea of the opinion that a crushing victory over Leeds can be considered a title marker. The Irishman said: “A result like that makes everyone take notice when you’re in the Premier League. “When you score six goals against any opposition, he makes everyone take notice – a bit like Liverpool’s result against Crystal Palace.
“I’d have to say they will be contenders – our form and goalscoring ability shows that. They have shown as well, as they did against City, that they can shut up shop too. “They will be looking at the table. Publicly they will say they’re not, but they are well aware of where they are and what they need to do to close the gap. If they can get the consistency, they will be very close.”