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‘McTominay isn’t George Best but he’s already bossed Verratti’ – McLeish tempers expectations around Man Utd star

12:25 EAT 18/03/2019
Scott McTominay Manchester United 2018-19
The Scotland manager is eager to avoid piling pressure on a midfielder who is considered to be a key man for his country due to his choice of club

Scotland boss Alex McLeish is eager to temper expectations around Scott McTominay, with it important that a man who recently bossed Marco Verratti is not put under pressure to be the next George Best.

As someone who plays his club football at Old Trafford, much is expected of the midfielder at international level.

Those on the books of leading sides have always been looked upon to become talismanic figures for their country, with former United star Darren Fletcher another of those who fitted into that category.

McTominay is yet to show, through five caps, that he can become a leader for Scotland, but McLeish believes performances will come in time because the 22-year-old has already shown that he can compete with the best when granted the freedom in which to flourish.

“When Darren Fletcher came into the Scotland team everyone was asking: ‘Why is he not playing like George Best?’”, McLeish said in the Scottish Daily Mail.

“That was just because he played for Man United. We have to remember that there are certain types of players and they need to be cogs fitting into the wheel.

“We believe Scott has a good future for club and country - and that performance against PSG suggests that swagger might be there.

“That kind of performance should give him added swagger and belief in himself. There is loads the big guy can improve on.

“He is still a young guy learning the game and he'll be looking at videos of the heroes of the past.

“He can certainly ping the ball but can he caress it the same as a [Paul] Scholes or a [Roy] Keane when the time is needed for that.

“The big guy is learning all the time and it's great to see him coming through in the PSG game as he did against Verratti.

“Verratti is a world-class player and to mess him about and get the wee guy rattled was the performance of a veteran.

“I think Nemanja Matic has been a big influence on him as well, playing in a similar position.

“The games McTominay has played in over the last few weeks have boosted us.”

McLeish is delighted to see McTominay gracing Champions League and Premier League stages as there was a fear in January that he may need a move on the back of Jose Mourinho – who had shown great faith in him – being dismissed by United.

“I spoke to his agent at Christmas and said: ‘Look, we need to get Scott out [on loan]. We want him to be a part of our squad for years to come and want to get him out training every day with cones and bibs and passing movements,” McLeish added on a player United have tied to a new long-term contract.

“Playing senior football is the key to your learning.

“I don't know what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's thoughts are, but he brought him in and playing against Liverpool he was excellent.”

McTominay has taken in 15 appearances for United this season, but is still waiting on a first goal for the club.