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Modern-day Fellaini with zero impact: Rio Ferdinand on Man United star was brutally exposed in horror show at Newcastle

The season’s biggest narrative has been Scott McTominay’s comeback, which was highlighted by a vital late double against Brentford that cemented his spot in the starting lineup.

But rather than playing like a traditional midfielder, his position has been more of a box-crasher, delivering important goals at a substantial cost to possession balance.

During the encounter that lasted longer than one hundred minutes, McTominay touched the ball only thirty times in United’s recent dismal loss to Newcastle, in which United ended with a measly 42% of the possession.

Bruno Fernandes, who was in a more advanced role, got 64 touches, which highlights the difference in involvement.

McTominay had little effect, even when United started to control the ball in the latter minutes. Even though he was replaced 20 minutes before the end due to United’s growing possession of the ball, Kobbie Mainoo still had 46 touches.

This highlights McTominay’s game’s intrinsic limits. Because of his placement and foresight in the box, he is effective in scoring goals, but he fails to solve United’s underlying problems—instead masking them.

United’s distinct style of play and dearth of ball-retainers mean that they frequently rely on individual skill or numerical box overloads to score.

In this situation, McTominay’s propensity to abandon the buildup, refrain from pursuing the ball, and instead make blind dashes into the box is comparable to a strategy that conceals rather than addresses fundamental team weaknesses.

When United isn’t controlling the ball, McTominay’s contribution is essentially like playing with ten men; it’s like a more sophisticated Marouane Fellaini, but he fills a limited and specialized function.

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