Jose Mourinho has heaped praise on Scott McTominay and advised Scotland manager Alex McLeish to select the up-and-coming Manchester United midfielder before England do.
The 21-year-old has not looked back since his surprise debut towards the end of last season, making 14 appearances in all competitions this term having proven his worth to a manager that is not known for giving youth a chance.
McTominay has shown himself to be able and dependable, with Mourinho surprised by the lack of appreciation for a player he believes deserves international recognition.
Eligible for England and Scotland, the United boss said he would be straight on the phone to the Lancastrian midfielder if he was McLeish.
“We had some players that missed but we had some players that played so, so well,” Mourinho told MUTV after Saturday’s 2-0 win at Huddersfield in the FA Cup fifth round.
“Honestly, I think Scott deserves more than what he is getting.
“I think maybe it’s because he’s this kind of kid profile: a normal haircut, no tattoos, no big cars, no big watches, humble kid, arrive in the club when he was nine or 10.
“Last season he was almost leaving the club to go somewhere, who knows where, who knows in which division he would be playing now.
“He has now played already, I don’t know, seven or eight 90 minutes – he’s not play five or 10 minutes – in every competition: Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup.
“I think the kid deserves a little bit more (recognition).
“And because it looks like England is missing him, if I was Alex McLeish the first thing I would do would be to [makes phone gesture] come to me.”
McTominay, attached to United since the age of five, has not represented England or Scotland at youth level.
Last November the 21-year-old told Scottish FA performance director Malky Mackay that he had yet to decide on his international future as he focused on kicking on at United.
McTominay is certainly doing that and is sure to be part of the squad that heads to Spain for Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg against Sevilla.
But questions remain over the availability of Ander Herrera and Marcus Rashford for that game, so too midfielder Paul Pogba after pulling out of the starting line-up at Huddersfield through illness.
“I don’t know about Paul,” Mourinho said. “I said before the game I was told by the doctor this morning he was not coming.
“We had a good tactical session yesterday and then have to prepare a new team. Just as a curiosity, (Michael) Carrick was the one who replaced Paul.
“Paul was going to play on the left side in a 4-3-3. (Nemanja) Matic was going to play as a number six with Scott on the right.
“So, we moved Matic to the left, not his favourite position, and Michael to a positional six.
“Now is the time to think about Paul and to know what happened and why he didn’t feel good enough to play and can he be available to help us on Wednesday. Now is the time to wait for information.”