Scott McTominay has denied “bullying” Man Utd team-mate Alejandro Garnacho during a training session after a video went viral.
Garnacho burst onto the scene for the Red Devils this season with the 18-year-old contributing two goals and two assists in nine appearances in all competitions.
A video last month showed McTominay knocking Garnacho’s hat off his head at their Carrington training ground and kicking it up the pitch.
He was criticised by some on social media and accused of “bullying” the 18-year-old but McTominay has denied those claims and insisted it was “just a bit of a joke”.
“I had a lot of people saying that was bullying! That was just a bit of a joke,” McTominay told The Athletic.
“But he needs to keep his feet on the ground and keep working hard and he can be one hell of a footballer.”
McTominay went on to say that he hoped any of his Man Utd team-mates would tell him if they had a problem with him.
The Scotland international added: “I’ve never been interested in, if things are going wrong — and I’m not saying I’ve had that here, but I have experienced it over my time in football, when I was a kid — speaking behind people’s backs if you don’t win. That is just a disaster.
“You need players in the group who are straight-talking, say things to people’s faces, and if they like it they like it, if they don’t they’ll get over it next week.
“I feel like we have a really good group for that, especially with the lads who are playing every week.”
On Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag and what he requires of him, McTominay continued: “He likes to fill the box with players. He wants players in the box ready to score goals. If you don’t have enough players in the box you never are going to score goals, because a striker can’t beat four players by himself.”
When asked how he feels when managers ask him to play a different role for the team, McTominay replied: “Warren Joyce (former United reserve team manager), who I’m sure many of you will know, he was so influential when I was younger. He said to me for two games, ‘Do you want to play up front?’. I was like, ‘Yeah, no problem’.
“I scored and he said, ‘I quite like you up front’. And I was like, ‘I don’t!’. After that, I played one more game, three in total, and was then back in midfield. With Scotland, I’ve played a mixture, pretty much half as a right-sided centre-half and half as a midfielder.
“Managers are always coming to you with different ideas against different styles of player, ‘Can you do this and that?’. If I said no, they’d say, ‘We need players who can do things like that’. I’m open to pretty much everything, but I am a midfielder.”
READ MORE: How on earth will Man Utd replace Ronaldo and his one Premier League goal this season?