José Mourinho has claimed that Scott McTominay is Manchester United’s best player, adding that he’s responsible for the midfielder’s rise at Old Trafford.
McTominay was handed his first-team debut by Mourinho during the 2016/17 season, coming off the bench during their 2-0 defeat away at Arsenal.
The Scotland international has gone on to establish himself as a key first-team player at Manchester United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The new Tottenham Hotspur boss has defended his work with youth players by claiming McTominay is now the best player at United – and, in typical Mourinho style, suggesting that he’s responsible for the 23-year-old’s rise from the academy.
Sarcastically responding to criticism over his work with youth players in the past, Mourinho said (via The Mirror): “Yes it’s very important, Scott McTominay is only the best player at Manchester United. Raphaël Varane is one of the best players in the world, yes, it’s fair criticism.”
While Mourinho might have a leg to stand on regarding McTominay when it comes to his work with academy players, the Portuguese manager was certainly clutching at straws over his impact on Varane’s career.
While it’s true that Mourinho handed Varane his debut at Real Madrid, the France international arrived at the Santiago Bernabéu as one of the most exciting defenders in the world – leaving RC Lens in a £9m transfer. He’s also been sub-standard since winning the World Cup in 2018.
Using Varane in his anecdote might have been a bit of an oversight, but Mourinho has actually handed a number of high-profile players their senior debuts in every club he’s been in charge.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek was given his Premier League debut at Chelsea under Mourinho, while more recently Angel Gomes (Manchester United) and Troy Parrott (Tottenham) also appeared for the first time in the top flight.
Elsewhere, Mario Balotelli, Álvaro Morata and Fabinho all made debuts in their respective leagues during Mourinho’s reign at Inter and Real Madrid.