Making a case for Scott McTominay, and why the excessive criticism is unjustified

The excessive criticism of Scott McTominay is completely unjustified.

Making a case for Scott McTominay, and why the excessive criticism is unjustified

Benjamin Disraeli once wrote, “how much easier it is to be critical than to be correct.” This phrase is all too common in modern football, where nearly no player is safe from unjustified criticism. However, some players and managers are singled out more than others for various reasons, one of which is the need to say “I told you so,” which surpasses the desire to be correct, especially if it means you would be wrong.

Scott McTominay has been on the receiving end of some of the criticism. Some of it is entirely justified, as no player is without flaws. However, a large portion of it is due to either a misunderstanding of his role on the pitch or the fact that he is presumably keeping someone’s favourite player on the bench. I want to emphasize how much of the latter viewpoint is entirely useless. If McTominay was indeed keeping a “great player” on the bench, isn’t that just highlighting the player’s lack of talent if he can’t get ahead of someone aptly nicknamed “McTalentless?” Again, most of the criticism stems from a misunderstanding of what he is expected to do on the pitch.

The Scotsman has been a regular under three different managers, all of whom have largely kept him in the lineup. What does it imply about the managers? They can’t all be clueless, can they? In a season where United had “world-class” talents like Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba, David De Gea, and a host of other players, Jose Mourinho created a special award to acknowledge McTominay. Those who support him are often subjected to almost the same level of abuse the player receives. You often see the phrase “reducing the club’s standards” thrown around like a mantra.

Making a case for Scott McTominay, and why the excessive criticism is unjustified

Of course, the abuse starts with the player, with some of those on the receiving end going so far as to block popular “influencers” who many (especially the younger ones) believe their words to be gospel. If these so-called YouTubers don’t rate a player, that must mean the player is terrible. Some fans wait for certain people to rate certain players before making up their minds about them. It doesn’t matter how he performs on the pitch; what matters is what these YouTubers think, which dilutes how people watch him play and, as a result, leads to a misinterpretation of his role.

It is not to say that all fan channels are bad. There are some excellent ones who go above and beyond to support the players and the club. But it’s the truly toxic ones – who appear to propagate negativity at every turn – that the majority seem to listen to; they form the fundamental basis of people’s knowledge about football.

Criticism is never a one-way street. You’re allowed to criticize a player if you believe he didn’t play well. But what people fail to do is applaud him when he performs. In the case of McTominay, a certain YouTuber, who I won’t even bother to name, is always very quick to level slander on the Scotsman when he has a bad or even average performance. However, he conveniently fails to give him credit when it’s due and sets some very ridiculous expectations for the midfielder, expectations that he doesn’t place on any other player.

In what universe would a football player block you for repeatedly abusing him, and you then resort to social media to criticize that player’s mentality because he was simply tired of being abused? Please note that I mentioned “abuse,” not “criticism,” because they never truly criticize. It’s almost as if they think the two terms are one and the same.

Scott McTominay is not a bad player. You may not believe he is a good enough player for Manchester United, but attacking him in the pretense of criticism is unfair, especially when most of it is utterly unfounded. It’s acceptable if you hold players to a certain standard. But there should be a need for consistency with those standards and no need to shift the posts when it comes to your favourites. McTominay is not keeping your favourites out of the team. He doesn’t pick the starting lineup. It might be shocking to know that the manager is the one keeping your favourite player out of the squad. Blame him.

When used correctly, criticism can be a powerful tool. You claim a player is awful, but you don’t offer any ideas on how he could improve. You ignore any positive qualities he may have and instead focus on every negative aspect of his performance.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Suzy Kassem, “Beware of those who criticize you when you deserve some praise for an achievement, for it is they who secretly desire to be worshipped.”

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