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“It’s clear”- Erik ten Hag addresses idea of playing Euro 2024 qualifier hero as striker at Manchester United

Scott McTominay of Scotland.
Scott McTominay of Scotland against Cyprus. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Erik ten Hag addresses idea of playing Scott McTominay as striker at Manchester United

Scott McTominay scoring for Scotland during the international break in March added more fuel to what some Manchester United fans may not like to see happen – the chances of him playing as a striker for the club.

The Scotsman was a back-up striker during his academy days at the club before making a breakthrough in the senior team as a midfielder under Jose Mourinho. He has been playing in that position ever since.

McTominay smashed a brace in a 3-0 Euro 2024 qualifier win against Spain and a 2-0 win against Cyprus last month. With Manchester United needing a striker, many fans joked (or some maybe even seriously suggested) that it’s a smart idea to play the 26-year-old up top.

Thankfully (at least from the author’s viewpoint) manager Erik ten Hag isn’t on board with it. Asked about this topic at his pre-match press conference ahead of the Premier League clash against Newcastle United on Sunday, the Dutchman replied (h/t Manchester Evening News):

“Scott can play in many roles, it’s clear he has scoring capabilities for Scotland but also this season for us he’s a really good finisher but I see him as a midfielder so I think I’m happy with Wout is doing. Because when Wout is in the team the team is performing better.”

Yes Ten Hag, we know very well just how much you trust Wout Weghorst! The Dutch striker, signed on loan from Burnley in January, has already played in 18 games across competitions for the club.

He has only two goals and two assists during that time, but the 1.97-meter Netherlands international almost always plays for us up front. It is clear that Ten Hag trusts him even if he doesn’t produce the goods.

McTominay is tall, can head the ball and has a neat finish on him. The Scotsman has scored 18 times for us in 202 games across competitions from defensive midfield. He could hack it as a striker at most clubs perhaps but for Manchester United, playing a defensive midfielder as a striker would just be a preposterous situation.

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Times aren’t that desperate. We need a striker to have finesse when he has the ball, and the ability to link up play in tight spaces when he is surrounded by bodies, Weghorst works for now and Anthony Martial will surely be usable again after his return from injury.

Written by Aniket Rai

An ordinary football fan, doing what he loves.

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