Mourinho calls for McTominay to start in defence against England

Jose Mourinho has called for Scott McTominay to start in defence for Scotland against England, with Billy Gilmour taking his place in midfield.

Gilmour is yet to start a game for Scotland, winning both his caps from the bench, but Mourinho feels the 20-year-old’s desire to constantly get hold of the ball in the middle of the park is exactly what Steve Clarke’s men need.

As for McTominay, Mourinho expects the pace of England’s forwards to be problematic for the Scots, and so has identified the need for someone more mobile to join the defence and negate that threat.


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Mourinho was the Manchester United manager when McTominay made his first steps into the senior picture at Old Trafford, naming him player of the year at the end of the 2017/18 season.

The three-time Premier League winner told talkSPORT: “Steve [Clarke] deserves all the respect and the last thing I want to do here is be the smart one, it’s just my opinion like anybody else who listens to this show.

“The fact McTominay can play in defence, he’s faster than Grant Hanley and I think Scotland need speed against Sterling and Rashford – they’re going to attack the space in the behind.

“Do you lose a very strong midfield player? Yes, but [Stuart] Armstrong and [John] McGinn are good players who are intense and recover balls and the kid, Gilmour, he will give them a focal point because he wants the ball all the time.

“You can look at his body and think, ‘they’re going to smash him’, but they’re only going to smash him if they arrive on time, and he is very good and very quick on the ball.

“And often, if a player wants to come in and smash him, they will arrive too late, he’s already gone.

“So if Scotland play five at the back with Scott in the back-five, they can bring in the kid to play in midfield, and that would help against England’s pace.”

England will qualify for the knockout stages with a win, while Scotland need a point to stand any realistic chance of getting out of Group D.

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