Nemanja Matic hails Man Utd youngsters as Scott McTominay continues to silence doubters


Scott McTominay has taken a while to silence the doubters.

But the Scottish international is ­providing a timely reminder that you still have to be pretty special to make it as a home-grown youngster at Manchester United .

United fans still associate McTominay with the dog days of Jose Mourinho’s reign but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given his young players a new belief, and ­McTominay is a prime example.

The 22-year-old tore around the pitch in the first half, dominated midfield and, in what was an injury-ravaged United line-up, provided the platform for a ­victory that was more about character than performance.

New summer signings Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James also caught the eye, Marcus Rashford won and scored the all-important ­penalty, and England centre-half Harry Maguire was outstanding against his former club.

McTominay impressed against Leicester

United are some way behind Liverpool and champions Manchester City but they are in the mix for the top four ­because, on big occasions like this, they have young players who are strong and brave rather than intimidated by the Old Trafford atmosphere.

McTominay could have easily gone into his shell – fans used to groan when his name was read out on the United teamsheet before games – but the ­Scotland midfielder has really shown his mettle.

This was a huge test for United ­because, under former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, Leicester are one of the most exciting teams in the Premier League this season.

Leicester would argue they deserved something from the game, and that is a compliment to United’s mental strength in the way they saw the game out.

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The last time the Foxes avoided defeat at Old Trafford was in a 1-1 draw in their title-winning season. This result allowed United to climb above them on goal ­difference.

Matic hailed United’s youngsters

United midfielder Nemanja Matic, who made his first Premier League start of the season, saluted the young stars who played such a pivotal role in victory and insisted that players should never be judged on age, always on ability.

Matic said: “It doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 35, you play for your team because you deserve to play.

“Manchester United are giving opportunities to the guys who grew up here in the academy and that’s good because in big clubs they don’t always get those ­opportunities. At big clubs there is always the pressure to get results.

“This season we can see who is ready to play at a high level. I am happy for them.

Rashford’s goal was enough to seal the win for United

“I like to see young players on the pitch and hopefully they can bring us some fresh energy for the rest of the season.”

Matic, once one of the first names on the United teamsheet, admits he is ­frustrated after losing his place but says he will never complain to manager ­Solskjaer.

The Serbian international said: “Of course I want to play. I always give my best for the team. But the coach is the man who picks the team and when you are on the bench you are not happy.

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“I am doing my best to change his mind and persuade him to put me on the pitch. And the season is long.

“I am ready. In the last 10 years I have played at a high level and I have tried my best to help the team because I think I am a team player. I always try to show my quality in training and in games That’s the way to fight for your place.”





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