Scott McTominay reveals why he has never questioned decision to choose Scotland over England
Traipsing off the pitch after March’s 3-0 pasting in Kazakhstan, Scott McTominay never felt his conviction waver. Not once did he question his decision to choose Scotland.
The Lancster-born Manchester United midfielder could have waited on an England call-up but opted for Scotland, his father’s homeland, early last year. Former national coach Alex McLeish made a huge effort to secure his services and even arguably the worst result in the country’s international history – in his first cap outwith friendlies – didn’t prompt a rethink.
“Not at all, I never thought that once,” said the 22-year-old. “A lot of people ask me about it and I’ve forgotten about that now. It was my decision to play for Scotland and my family couldn’t be more proud that they can see me hopefully playing many more games and getting goals as well. You have to take the belief from all the fans that you should be here.
“When people ask, I say: ‘What sort of question is that? Ask me about something else, ask me about my holidays.’ That question is irrelevant now, it’s two years ago and I’ve forgotten about it. It’s a question I’m not interested in and they shouldn’t be either. It’s in the past now and you have to look forward.”
Enlisting McTominay is one of the highlights of McLeish’s second reign at Hampden. He has since made way for Steve Clarke, the latest manager hoping to lead Scotland to an international tournament. Losing 3-0 in the Astana Arena was a horrendous start to the Euro 2020 qualifiers. A 2-0 win in San Marino three days later was only marginally better.
“This is a journey we are all going on together and we need to get to a major tournament,” said McTominay. “All the boys are completely driven to go for that goal. The way it panned out last time, that was tough. Now it’s about getting a reaction and not dwelling on those two games. Although we did beat San Marino we should have done much better than we did on the night.
“The boys who wanted to come to camp gave everything for the manager. It’s the same under Steve as well – you’re playing for Scotland, it’s not like you’re going to play a friendly match and it has to be that way throughout the duration of playing for your country.
“We have to leave the last two games in the past now and totally focus on the games ahead. You hear interviews in which people say we need a clean slate. This is a proper clean slate for us, though. It is a chance for us to really push on and show people that we really are more than capable of going to a major tournament.”
McTominay will commit to Clarke, something he learned under Jose Mourinho at United. “The way he looked after me was incredible. It’s no coincidence he likes players who want to do everything for the manager and that’s the type of boy I am. I’m not interested in anything other than doing my best on the pitch.”