Former Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed how he blocked a move which would have seen midfielder Scott McTominay join Derby County on loan in 2019, according to The Athletic.
The Norwegian was handed the reigns at Old Trafford in December 2018 following the sacking of Jose Mourinho and immediately made a big impact. His form in the latter part of the 2018/19 season eventually saw him land the role on a permanent basis before his eventual departure in 2021.
Scottish international McTominay was one of the players brought through the ranks at the Theatre of Dreams by Mourinho, with the now-Roma manager labelling the midfielder as a future Manchester United captain. He was handed his debut at the end of the 2016/17 and made 13 Premier League appearances the following season before Mourinho departed the club.
Derby County then sensed an opportunity, with Solskjaer confirming that Derby County – then of the Championship – made an approach to take the player on loan for the second half of the 2018/19 campaign. McTominay had made just six league appearances in the first half of the season, and the Rams swooped in the hope of giving him regular first team football as they pushed for a play-off place.
Speaking to The Athletic, via Derbyshire Live, Solskjaer said of the situation;
“I made one selfish decision — to keep Scott McTominay when he could have gone on loan to Derby in 2019 to play more football.
“We kept him, we played him and after beating PSG away when he and Fred played well at the base of midfield, I think we did the right thing.
“Scott’s a Man United player through and through.”
McTominay and Fred went on to become a mainstay of Solskjaer’s midfield at Manchester United, whilst Derby flirted briefly with the Championship play-off places before losing four of their final five games to eventually finish 10th.
It’s one of those sliding door moments that sometimes occur in football. McTominay could well have made an impact at Pride Park and may have been the catalyst needed to eventually earn Derby a play-off place. Of course, we’ll never know, but the now 26-year-old is a player who could have made a difference and one that is underrated by many in the game.
His form at international level as of late – which has seen him outscore the likes of Harry Kane, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe in the Euro 2024 qualifiers – has been excellent. With Derby now in League One and McTominay attracting attention from the likes of Bayern Munich, it’s unlikely the opportunity to play in the East Midlands will ever arise again.