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Man United’s 23-year-old key player returns from ligament injury – A timely boost for Solskjaer?

Why Scott McTominay’s return from injury is a big boost for Man United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed that Scott McTominay would be included in the Manchester United squad to face Watford on Sunday and he made a substitute appearance.

Scott McTominay, 23, was out since Manchester United’s Boxing Day win against Newcastle United when he suffered knee ligament damage. He missed 15 games since sustaining a knee injury against the Magpies in December. The Scotland international made 17 appearances and scored three goals for the Red Devils before his untimely injury and his presence has been missed in the middle of the park.

McTominay came through the ranks of United’s academy and signed a new contract in January that would keep him at the club until 2023. Since making his debut against Arsenal in 2017, the central midfielder has played 68 times across all competitions for the Reds, scoring five goals.

Scott McTominay in action for Manchester United. (Getty Images)
Scott McTominay in action for Manchester United. (Getty Images)

The Scotsman enjoyed his breakthrough in the 2017/18 campaign where he made 23 appearances in all competitions. He played 22 games last season and has already appeared 22 times this term under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

McTominay started the season as United’s first-choice central midfielder alongside Paul Pogba. While Pogba has suffered ankle problems this term that has limited him to just seven Premier League appearances, McTominay’s absence has affected Solskjaer’s side.

McTominay and Fred started building a strong partnership in the middle of the park following Pogba’s injury in September. However, since the Scotsman’s knee injury in December, the Red Devils have won just 4 out of 8 league games. Solskjaer’s side have also been dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Manchester City in the meantime.

Nemanja Matic replaced the injured McTominay and even though the Serbian has done well in midfield along with Fred in recent weeks, defeats to Arsenal, Liverpool, Burnley and Manchester City (Carabao Cup), was a cruel reminder as to why Solskjaer’s side needed McTominay’s quality in the middle.

Man United's Scott McTominay (L) views with Wolves' Leander Dendoncker (R). (Getty Images)
Man United’s Scott McTominay (L) views with Wolves’ Leander Dendoncker (R). (Getty Images)

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United have struggled this season but are somehow just three points behind 4th-placed Chelsea. Solskjaer has had to deal with a number of injuries to key players, with Marcus Rashford possibly out for the remainder of the season.

That said, the Norwegian tactician must work with what he has at his disposal to push for a top-four finish. And to do that, McTominay’s return would provide a much-needed boost in the middle of the park.

McTominay scored in the 1-1 draw against Arsenal and also provided an assist in the 1-1 draw vs Southampton. That’s a contribution of two points to United’s league tally so far.

Although he doesn’t contribute too much when it comes to goals or assists (given he is a deep-lying central midfielder), his presence has been quite useful to Man United this season and it’s evident from the number of impressive performances he has put in so far, examples being the 2-1 win vs Tottenham and the 2-1 win over Man City in December.

Verdict

United could certainly do with McTominay’s return from injury and if the Scotsman hits the ground running upon his return from injury, it would be a boost for Solskjaer’s Red army fighting tooth and nail to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

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