Harry Maguire blamed for Man Utd ‘misusing’ Scott McTominay in wrong position

Scott McTominay's “misuse” at Manchester United has been put down to Harry Maguire’s limitations.

McTominay has played just nine minutes of football across United’s opening four Premier League fixtures this season. He was left out of the squad entirely by Erik ten Hag for the trip to Arsenal before the international break, all but confirming the Dutchman's preference for his other midfield options.

It sums up just how much the 26-year-old’s stock at Old Trafford has fallen since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking. But the Scot appears to be a different player entirely when turning out for his national team.

He notched a goal and an assist for Scotland in the 3-0 Euro 2024 qualifier win against Cyprus on Friday while playing in a notably more advanced midfield role.

READ MORE: Man Utd fans convinced Erik ten Hag is conducting a 'social experiment' with transfers

The marked difference in both his performance and position has been attributed to a decision made by former Red Devils manager Solskjaer. According to The Telegraph, Solskjaer’s main concern while in charge was centred around his central-defensive duo – Maguire and Victor Lindelof.

As such, the Norwegian chose to deploy a double-pivot in order to screen the pair and cover for their limitations. That gave way to the well-known midfield partnership of McTominay and Fred as two No6s, despite both players naturally enjoying their football further up the pitch.

Do you think Man Utd should give McTominay a run as a box-to-box midfielder? Let us know in the comments section.

Part of the reason why both were used further back was also due to United lacking a world class defensive midfielder to handle the bulk of the defensive work, something which they have since addressed by adding Casemiro.

But it would undoubtedly hinder the progress of McTominay long-term, as well as how he was perceived at club level. The ‘McFred’ combination became a target of fan criticism, being judged a safe yet uninspiring midfield set-up.

Ten Hag immediately sought to break the midfield pairing up upon arrival in the summer of 2022. The additions of Casemiro, Christian Eriksen and more recently Mason Mount and Sofyan Amrabat have gone some way in doing just that.

Fred was finally shipped off to Galatasaray this summer. Meanwhile, McTominay received interest from a number of clubs, including West Ham, Newcastle, Fulham, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich but was not relieved of his United shackles.

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The midfielder, who will remain at the club until at least January, indicated his desire to play further forward at club level following his display against Cyprus.

He said: "The [Scotland] manager [Steve Clarke] gives me a lot of freedom to get into the box and potentially make things happen. Obviously he has shown a lot of faith in me and I just want to make things happen."

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