Man Utd midfielder Scott McTominay turned into prime Paul Scholes against Leeds United at Old Trafford on Sunday, scoring two excellent goals before Marcelo Bielsa’s side had got their feet under the table.
The first goal, scored after just two minutes, was a textbook Scholes finish, drilled low and hard into the bottom corner with no visible effort – Scholes was the king of the drilled finish. The second, scored one minute later, was more of a striker’s finish, taken after a well-timed run into the box, but no less satisfying. Btw, he’s the first player to score twice in the first three minutes of a Premier League match.
McTominay has long divided United fans, but this performance will win over many of them. In recent seasons, you never felt he believed enough in himself, that he could be a regular starter in a Man Utd midfield. But this year he’s grown hugely, often alongside unlikely midfield partner Fred, not only helping Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to solve the club’s Pogba Problem, but also playing a major role in Scotland’s qualification for Euro 2020.
Solskjaer was a McTominay fan before now, clearly, but United’s boss was effusive in his praise of the 24-year-old after the shellacking of Leeds:
He’s a physical monster. He does all his work every single day meticulously – never shirks anything and he gets his reward by his fitness.
He can do everything. He used to be a striker and knows how to score goals. I think he proved today that he’s a handful in and around the box as well.
A note of caution: not many teams will give McTominay as much space as he was afforded yesterday. He’s a big specimen and he does struggle with his footwork in a more crowded midfield. But he is smart as well as hard-working, he knows what he can and can’t do; when you need quick feet or a killer pass, give it to Bruno Fernandes.
The Leeds game was a coming of age for McTominay, though. He already knew Man Utd wanted to keep him – he’s contracted until 2025 – but now he knows they also need him at the heart of their team. Also, Roy Keane likes his haircut.
Man Utd 6-2 Leeds Utd highlights: