Manchester United dropped their first points of the season as a trip to St Mary’s saw them draw 1-1 with Southampton.
Although there were promising aspects such as the performances of Paul Pogba’s and Mason Greenwood, fingers were pointed in the direction of the holding midfield area.
Even though he has a decorated career, it shouldn’t come as a shock to say Nemanja Matic’s best years are behind him. He will struggle to cement the holding midfielder role this season.
Despite the misfortune of the Southampton goal taking a deflection off him and going down as an own goal, Fred has all but confirmed he is not capable of playing in the defensive midfield role. Fred has plenty of positive points as a player, but he can be erratic and looked vulnerable against the Saints’ press on Sunday.
After the acquisitions of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, the focus has now turned to United signing a holding midfielder, but with the transfer deadline a matter of days away from closing, a new player coming in looks increasingly unlikely.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a desire to play with just the one defensive-minded midfielder to allow more options going forward. And the current midfield situation at United leaves only one option — Scott McTominay.
As a United academy graduate, McTominay has blossomed into a reliable and consistent performer for the first team. Having been at the club since his days as a kid, McTominay has grown up with United and understands the privilege of putting on the famous red jersey, which is one of several reasons why he should be trusted in the single-pivot role.
It is not just the size and power McTominay brings to the midfield, he also is capable of picking out quick passes breaking the defensive lines of the opposition. This is clearly an attribute United are keen to implement in the midfield to allow attack-minded midfielders such as Bruno Fernandes more opportunity to create.
Although he is not necessarily a specialist in the holding midfielder position, McTominay is still only 24-years-old with the prime of his career yet to come. If United were to trust him and give him consistent playing time in that role he certainly has the capabilities of cementing his name as the go-to holding midfielder.
Another huge aspect is how much of a leader McTominay is on the pitch. Even with a variety of senior players within the squad, McTominay is not afraid to voice his opinion and instruct players around him.
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He can also adapt himself from a positional standpoint, to. Whether it is going forward and continuing his runs to the edge of the box, or sitting in the pocket in front of the defence to provide protection, it is clear to see McTominay is taking full advantage of Michael Carrick being a part of the United coaching staff.
The Scotsman has all the attributes to blossom into the holding midfielder United are so desperately in need of.
His understanding, physical attributes, the constant desire to become better and give his all for United every time he steps on the pitch. If United do not sign a holding midfielder, it is time to trust Scott Mctominay.
What do you think of Mctominay playing the defensive midfield role? Follow our new United Fan Brands Writer Anil Kandola on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.