Scott McTominay insists he must earn the right to play and is itching for another chance to repay Jose Mourinho’s trust in him when Manchester United bid to reach another League Cup semi-final.
The Reds, who are the holders of the trophy now known as the Carabao Cup, face Bristol City at Ashton Gate in the quarter-final, with the aim of reaching the last four of the competition for the second successive season.
The Robins, managed by Lee Johnson, are flying high in the Championship this term and have been challenging for a play-off place for much of the season.
It has been a breakthrough year for McTominay – who stepped into the first-team in the final few games of last season and earned more praise from Mourinho for his “intelligent” use of the ball when making his seventh appearance of the season as a substitute in Sunday’s 2-1 win at West Brom.
He has featured in both of United’s Carabao Cup ties so far this term – appearing off the bench against Burton Albion, before playing the full 90 minutes in the 2-0 win at Swansea in the fourth round in October.
Although the midfielder hopes to get more minutes under his belt on Wednesday, he is not resting on his laurels and knows he must earn every opportunity he gets on the pitch.
The 21-year-old told MUTV: “That’s the main thing – I’ve said it previously that minutes are the most important thing for any young player, and every footballer wants to play, but you have to earn the right to play and come into the team.
“You have to earn trust from people like the manager and the coaching staff and, ultimately, if you can be trusted, you will play in these games.”
The Reds have already seen off lower league opponents in the competition this season after beating second-tier outfit Burton 4-1 in the third round at Old Trafford in September and will be up against a Bristol City side in excellent form in the Championship.
McTominay – who has now featured in the matchday squad in 14 of United’s last 15 games – revealed that he knows some of the players in the Robins squad and feels the glamour occasion of welcoming five-time winners United to town will give the home side an even greater lift.
He said: “I actually know a few of the lads that are playing there and I know that they have a really strong team and the supporters there are really strong as well.
“They are going well in the league this year and it’s a big confidence boost for them – when the results are going their way and they see Man United next on the fixture list. They will go into the game to give everything and so will we as well.”
United won the League Cup in successive years in 2009 and 2010 under Sir Alex Ferguson and will be hoping to retain the trophy we won last season this term – an incentive which McTominay says gives the squad an extra determination to take the competition seriously.
“Whenever you are holders of the trophy, it’s so important to make sure you can retain it,” our no.39 said. “It’s like when you win the Champions League, you want to go and win the Champions League again. If you win the Premier League, you want to repeat that success and that’s how great teams are formed. I feel like we’ve got a good chance of doing that this year. If we stay concentrated, we can do it.”