Manchester United have nosedived this season but Scott McTominay has emerged as a real leader for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Red Devils have often been criticised for not finding a suitable midfield partner for Paul Pogba, even throwing an eye-watering £52m away to bring Fred to the club in 2018 in one of the biggest failed transfers in recent years.
But McTominay’s form in 2019/20 means that Solskjaer can at least cross one problem off his list, even if a whole host of others keep rearing their ugly heads.
The Scotland international has won more duels (66) and made more interceptions (12) than any other United player in the Premier League this season, while no outfield player has made more recoveries than McTominay (55).
Aaron Wan-Bissaka is unsurprisingly United’s tackle king this season with 31 but next up in second is McTominay (16) – the 22-year-old really has shouldered much of the responsibility while his more senior teammates have been floundering.
McTominay: A Man Utd captain in the making?
In fact, such is the senior role he’s taken up, McTominay has even started to guide United’s next crop of youngsters, revealing the advice he passed on to 19-year-old Brandon Williams ahead of his debut against AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League.
“I thought he did brilliantly,” he said.
“I said to him before the game to just be himself and told him he had nothing to worry about.
Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.
“I told him to go and play the game like it was a reserves match or he was playing in the park with his mates… you don’t want to think too much about it, you just need to go out, express yourself, show what you can do and that’s what he did.”
Even with renowned speedsters Marcus Rashford, Daniel James and Anthony Martial at Solskjaer’s disposal, it would also appear that McTominay is taking up offensive responsibilities, completing more dribbles (11) than any other United player, and ranking fourth for chances created with six.
United better off with Fellaini? Jaded Rashford’s struggles continue
While McTominay has flourished, the same certainly cannot be said for Rashford, who is looking increasingly lost in a United shirt this season.
The England international has three goals so far, but has completed just 71.51% of his passes – the lowest of any United player to feature more than twice in the Premier League – and has a 40 per cent dribble success rate.
In short, Rashford has been largely ineffective and has been forced into speculative efforts from distance far too often, thanks to an apparent lack of confidence and energy to get into the box.
Rashford has been so poor this season that, during United’s 1-0 defeat to Newcastle, Gary Neville even suggested his former club would have been better off keeping hold of Marouane Fellaini to play up front rather than their young prodigy.
To lambast a youngster like Rashford too much would be taking an unnecessary swipe. After all, United have been poor right across the pitch this season and their current standing of 12th is well deserved.
However, if Solskjaer is to stand any chance of turning things around at Old Trafford, Rashford is one of the first underperforming stars who simply must step up.