It's hard for Scott McTominay to crash the box when he's 30 yards behind the play
November 30, 2023
Scott McTominay, one of Manchester United’s best box crashers, is currently playing as a box-to-box midfielder with increased responsibilities in the first phase. His position deep limits his impact in goal-scoring opportunities. He must always be positioned higher up the field.
His ability to read space and time his runs to reach dangerous areas is a rare skill, and it’s even rarer to have that skill and be somewhat quick, yet Manchester United underutilizes that ability when they position him behind ten or more yards behind the ball.
It’s hard to crash a box when you are 30 yards behind the play.
He has a great engine, athleticism, which allows him to run up and down the pitch at speed for 90 minutes. That’s great. But you want him higher up the pitch. It would be great if he could conserve all that energy for attack, rather than track back to the second line, act like like a traffic cone in defense, and then sprint the full length of the field to attempt to get involved in the attack only to be 30 yards behind the play.
He must be near the box at the start of Manchester United’s attack, not trailing behind the front line but on it. It’s a waste of his skillset in attack to have him this far behind the ball.
His game isn’t about long shots or spotting passes on the far side. He excels as a poacher and goal-scorer in tight areas, because he can use his ability to find space to expand those tight areas.
Get him into areas where he can run on to the ball into the box, anticipate a shot to try to clean up the scraps from a goalkeeper’s parry, or run on to a long ball to use his height, pace, and physicality to dash into the box or hold-up play. The deeper roles don’t align with his profile.