Jose Mourinho has picked Scott McTominay as his personal ‘Player of the Year’ following his breakthrough season at Manchester United.
The youngster impressed towards the latter stages of last season and has cemented his place in Mourinho’s first team squad ever since.
He has made 19 appearances in total this season, including big performances against Sevilla and Liverpool, and received a call-up to the Scotland national team in March.
Speaking at the club’s annual awards ceremony, Mourinho once again spoke effusively of the 21-year-old’s progress in the first team this year.
“I think the dream of every boy that arrives at the club is to play for the first-team,” he said.
“And when the dream becomes true the next dream is to play in big matches and to play Champions League, eventually to play for the national team.
“He did everything in five or six months. My player of the year has to be Scott McTominay.
“He’s the one that did everything and start the season in the academy and ends the season playing big matches in the Premier League, derbies, Champions League matches, becoming an important player for the squad. So I thought this kid cannot go home without an award so he gets my award.
“I always say for me they are not young or old players, is just about the quality the personality and this kid has everything that I want.
“So I think is good for the younger boys in the academy to look at him as an example of player. Of course we know it’s very important to have players like Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard who were born in the club, but I think it’s important to have the right profile and he has the right profile.
“So after Marcus we chose the one before I arrive to have Scott gives to every other kid the notion, the dream that time can also arrive.”
Managers have the power to tear a group of people apart and leave a club in tatters; they also have the chance to allow people to live their dreams, to go from anonymity to worldwide fame in the matter of months. And that is exactly what has happened with McTominay – or ‘The Kid’, as Mourinho calls him.
You can tell that McTominay’s gradual rise to playing for the first team was a great source of pride for Mourinho: to spot a talent, to bring him into the fold, to watch him develop slowly both as a player and man, and to then see him have an effect on big games for your team. That will always trump spending millions on a polished talent.
The commentariat will want you to believe that Mourinho only knows how to wave a chequebook; the case of McTominay is blatant evidence of the contrary.