Rio Ferdinand believes Scott McTominay has “got the personality, character and right attributes” to emit an influential aura at Manchester United similar to Jordan Henderson with Liverpool.
McTominay, 24, has cemented a consistent first-team berth under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this season, forming a solid double-pivot with Fred as part of the Norwegian’s established 4-2-3-1, with the duo often working well in tandem to screen the backline and recycle possession.
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The Scotland international has been in and out of the starting XI since first emerging under Jose Mourinho, but has really come to the fore this campaign, dispelling past criticisms about inconsistencies in his game.
His form has been generating admiring glances from across the board, with Sir Alex Ferguson recently labelling him Man Utd’s ‘new Darren Fletcher’, and Ferdinand has now chimed in with his own endorsement, believing the midfielder has the potential to replicate the influential exploits of Henderson at Liverpool.
“I think that McTominay can be and grow into the type of influence that Jordan Henderson has at Liverpool over the last couple of years, if the team is built the right way,’ Ferdinand told Vibe with FIVE.
“I think he’s got the personality, the character, the right attributes.
“He can cover the ground, takes the ball… yes, he’s not a passer like Bruno [Fernandes] or [Paul] Pogba but he doesn’t need to be when you’ve got players like that in your team.”
Despite consolidating a Champions League qualification place in the Premier League and reaching the Europa League final this season, Ferdinand believes the McTominay-Fred double pivot is not a long-term solution for the club, instead wanting the former to be allocated a new partner.
Ferdinand added: “He’s got no better coach for that position, marshalling the midfield area and giving it to the players in the number 10 roles, etc, than Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher, who are at the club now.
“Given time he can, but he needs to be put alongside the right personnel and Fred isn’t that guy.
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“McTominay could have an influence on this team, he’s got the character, the personality. Around the training ground he drives a lot of the things that go on in terms of the culture of the club, the voice.
“He’s very confident, got a good nature about him, works hard, got a good work ethic. They’re the kind of traits you want to see. He brings value.
“He’s good at a lot of the things that the other players don’t bring.”
Fergie: McTominay is now emerging as one of Man Utd’s big players
It is a testament to McTominay’s improvement this season that he has elicited praise from club luminaries such as Ferdinand and Ferguson.
The latter recently detailed his admiration for the Scot, believing the midfielder has the ability to follow in the esteemed footsteps of Fletcher.
The 37-year-old, now technical director at the club, enjoyed a decade of medal-hoovering success under Ferguson, including five Premier League titles and the 2008 Champions League.
Ever the talent spotter, Ferguson sees similarities in both Fletcher’s game and McTominay’s, saying: “McTominay is now emerging as one of Man Utd’s big players.
“When you watch Man Utd pick a team for a big game, McTominay is in it. Good character, great trainer, I know a little bit about the boy.
“I signed him when he was seven or eight. He was actually a centre-forward as a kid. He has sprouted, a little bit like Darren (Fletcher) when he first came.
“McTominay is a similar type as Darren, long, lanky, good winner of the ball, good turn of pace going forward, great attitude to the game.
“All the attributes that Darren had, McTominay has got them. We seldom left Darren out for big games, particularly against Arsenal, he had no problems dealing with Patrick Vieira, and McTominay is following those guidelines.
“It’s really rewarding for me to see a Scot coming through.”