David de Gea picked up his fourth Manchester United Player of Year award in five years at the club’s end of season awards last week.
However, Jose Mourinho sprung a surprise by deciding to name a Manager’s Player of the Year as well.
And even more surprisingly, that went to a player that had only started five Premier League matches at the time of the award night – Scott McTominay.
“He started the season in the academy and ended it playing big games in the Premier League,” Mourinho told MUTV. “I thought this kid cannot go home without an award.”
It was all a bit bizarre.
However, while it’s clear Mourinho rates the youngster extremely highly, it doesn’t seem as though Gary Neville has the same opinion.
During Man Utd’s 0-0 draw against West Ham on Thursday, Neville was on co-commentary duty. And he wasn’t exactly full of praise for the midfield.
WHAT NEVILLE SAID ABOUT MCTOMINAY
“McTominay, when I watch him, I’m not sure he’s actually good enough on the ball to be a Man United midfield player,” Neville said.
“I do think he’s the type that it’s good for him to play games in there. But I do wonder whether if actually he’s got more of a position at centre back eventually, the physicality that he has.
“He’s a big lad. Is he sharp enough on the ball to be a Man United central midfield player?”
Well, following that West Ham match, McTominay was given another chance to impress in United’s final match of the Premier League season at home to Watford.
MOURINHO HITS BACK AT NEVILLE
The 21-year-old played the entire 90 minutes during the 1-0 victory and Mourinho hit back at Neville after the game.
“If you want to be negative, you can be negative until the point that you can say that Scott McTominay is not good enough,” said Mourinho.
It’s fair to say Mourinho isn’t having any of Neville.
MCTOMINAY PRAISES MOURINHO
While the Portuguese boss doesn’t have the best reputation for giving youngsters first-team opportunities, it seems he has plenty of time for McTominay.
And the central midfielder recent revealed the role Mourinho has played in his development.
“Jose Mourinho has been absolutely incredible to me this year,” McTominay said.
“He’s helped me so much in terms of what I can do, from being more humble, to being better on the training pitch and just being a better person in general.
“When I first came into the group he said ‘the players have to like you’ and it’s one of the most important things going into a new dressing room, that you are a likeable person and you get on with everybody. That has stood me in good stead.
“It’s important to be liked and on the pitch. It’s the manager having the faith to play me that’s been incredible and I can’t thank him enough.”