Pundits and Solskjaer hail Scott McTominay after dominant display , Latest Football News - The New Paper

Pundits and Solskjaer hail Scott McTominay after dominant display

Manchester United's young midfielder Scott McTominay showed against Barcelona yesterday morning (Singapore time) that he not only merits a starting place in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, but that he can also compete with the very best.

Former United captain Rio Ferdinand said the 22-year-old showed that "he can be trusted" after the English side's 1-0 loss in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

A midfield of McTominay, Fred and Paul Pogba did not look, on paper, a strong match for the Spanish giants, but they grafted and fought to limit the service provided to Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

While Pogba was unable to lift his game for the big occasion, United academy product McTominay played with real confidence.

"He grew into the game. He's grown in stature. Today, his energy, his intensity... He was the catalyst for a lot of good things that happened," Ferdinand told BT Sport.

"There are sometimes performances that make you grow in stature and make you feel part of the first team.

"He's added to his name. He was very, very good. He was positive, he was reliable, he was aggressive. He's proven to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer he can be trusted, which is vital for a young player."

Former United midfielder Owen Hargreaves was also full of praise for the Scotland international.

"For that young man to be the best (United) player on the pitch when Fred cost £50 million (S$89m), Pogba cost £90m - it's quite exceptional really," Hargreaves told BT Sport.

"That solidified him as a Manchester United regular. That's a defining moment for the young man against that Barca team."

United manager Solskjaer also hailed his young gun.

"Scott McTominay was fantastic," said the Norwegian.

"Every time he plays for us, he is improving. He's a great athlete, wins his challenges and is quick on his feet. He started settling us, to be fair."

The midfielder himself felt that United had competed well after a slow start, but lacked a cutting edge.

"In the first 10 minutes, we showed them too much respect. But, after that, we adapted really well and looked the better side,"McTominay said.

"Barcelona are top class, it's difficult to get the ball. It's not as easy as going out to press like mayhem. And we have to do more in front of goal, score more goals.

"It's a big second leg to go. It's only half-time. We are Manchester United and you can never write us off." - REUTERS