Scott McTominay: Manchester United’s Next Captain?

Manchester United's Scott McTominay at the end of the match.

Reuters/John Sibley

Scott McTominay has just signed a fresh contract extension that will keep him at Manchester United until 2025 at the minimum. He could now very well be touted to be the club’s next captain.

The 23-year-old midfielder has been a testament to the vital narrative that the club’s youth academy is still a formidable source of talent.  In fact, with this move, the Red Devils can now focus on the Scotland international as the bedrock of their midfield and undeniably as their future captain.

McTominay’s rise to the ranks at United came via Jose Mourinho who was very reliant on the youngster, even making him the recipient of his Manager’s Player of the Year award and earmarking him for success back in 2017. While the Portuguese boss is no longer at Old Trafford, the thriving career arc of McTominay is pure vindication of the trust he had placed earlier.

Further still, the crucial point here is that United have now renewed his contract for the third time since offering him professional terms. Prior to this, his existing term was valid until 2023. The choice to extend may be indicative of a clear intent to safeguard his presence and value in United’s roster, effectively dissuading external interest as well as giving the lad an opportunity to build up on his own.

In this regard, he can already do so by placing himself as the prospective captain of this youthful United team. In past occasions, the sheer passion and tendency for direction on the pitch that he has displayed has inspired fans to have called for him being awarded the captaincy. In any scenario, the youngster can slowly build up to that role, largely by ensuring that he is patient and continues to excel and be indispensable in the starting lineup. If done well, the armband can flow easily from Harry Maguire to him.

On a more tactical standpoint, it will be crucial for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign to be a long-term one for McTominay to be fully cemented into the squad. With the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba already establishing offensive midfield dominance and the sheer effectiveness that Fred has displayed as part of the pivot, a dynamic deep role is what McTominay should strive to make his own.

He has already more or less replaced the aging Nemanja Matic from the holding position and must now spend the season ahead establishing himself further. The occasional eye for goal and the sheer workrate he displays will certainly aid this even more.

Manchester United's Scott McTominay in action with Barcelona's Lionel Messi.

Reuters/Lee Smith

His indispensability, particularly in big games, can be shown in the simple statistic that United have never lost a Premier League game to a top six side when McTominay had started, winning six games and drawing four. Likewise, against PSG and Barcelona in the 2018/19 Champions League, the same adeptness against top names was on display.

All in all, keeping McTominay for the long-term is vital even for a bigger change at Old Trafford. After years of mindless spending, the club must once more firmly establish their academy as the source of long-term brilliance. With Marcus Rashford already touted to be United’s attacking future for several more years, McTominay can ape that but in the midfield. This way, funds can be reserved for specialist positions like was the case for Bruno Fernandes and may once again prove to be so if Jadon Sancho is acquired.

In the end, it is the player’s raw passion and love for the badge he has known since his childhood that shines through and many supporters will be hoping to see him thrive in the years to come.