Manchester United’s rising star Scott McTominay has received the first international call up of his career.
And it is not from his country of birth.
New Scotland manager Alex McLeish has confirmed that he will name McTominay, 21, in their squad to face Costa Rica in a friendly later this month with McTominay, born and raised in England, ready to represent the Tartan Army.
England is said to have shown little interest in calling up the holding midfielder who has become a mainstay in the United starting lineup over the past few months, playing 16 times this season for the Red Devils.
“He will be in the squad,” McLeish said. “I don’t think that’s the world’s best kept secret at this particular moment. Scott was very receptive. I looked him in the eye and he gave me passion about playing for Scotland. I saw the passion and I really felt that we had nailed it that day.”
McTominay hasn’t played at the international level at all during his career but his grandparents are from Scotland and previous reports have suggested that he was leaning towards playing for them.
Even if he does play for Scotland in the friendly against Costa Rica on Mar. 23, he can still switch to England in the future as it isn’t a competitive game.
Looking at the depth of midfield options for England, McTominay’s decision may be a little hasty. Aside from Eric Dier and Jordan Henderson, how many other central midfielders playing regularly in the Premier League does Gareth Southgate have to choose from?
Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Cork and maybe Lewis Cook are other options, but there seems to be slim pickings in that area of the pitch. But with England’s U-17 and U-20 teams the current world champions, it’s likely that the Three Lions will promote their players from within the ranks rather than selecting someone who has risen to stardom over the past few months. Maybe that has swayed McTominay’s decision.
Still, if he continues to be a regular for United in the Premier League and UEFA Champions League in the coming months, surely he can change his mind? I’m sure that will go down very well with both the Scotland and England fans…
On a serious note, he is a tough tackling, composed central midfielder who reminds me of Michael Carrick in possession and his positional sense is spot on, something Mourinho loves. Is McTominay the best thing since sliced bread? No. But is he a top prospect who will get regular minutes at United under Mourinho in the next 12-18 months? More than likely that will be the case.