Getting Scott McTominay fit and playing again for Manchester United has to be one of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's top priorities at present.
The Scotsman has emerged in the Norwegian's spell as manager as one of United's standout players, regularly displaying impressive performances during the last campaign and right through the opening months of the 2019/20 season.
However, McTominay sustained a knee injury against Newcastle on Boxing Day, not featuring for the Red Devils since, and his absence has impacted on United's form. The good news is that the 23-year-old has recently stepped up his recovery, rejoining the United squad at their winter break training camp in Marbella. He could feature against Chelsea next week.
McTominay will benefit the United team hugely in the coming months if he can play on a regular basis, and it'll help his side in their bid to reach the top four.
He''s a dominant force in midfield and brings an incredibly vital sense of composure and presence that no one else in the team offers at the moment.
More importantly, he adds a much-needed bite that is otherwise lacking when he doesn't play. United are softer, and more vulnerable, when he's not there.
McTominay's return could also improve United in another sense - as they seek to get the best out of new signing Bruno Fernandes. McTominay's energy in a deeper two will allow new signing the Fernandes freedom to express himself further up the pitch, free of the worry that he will have to drop deeper to create opportunities.
This was United's issue in their most recent fixture with Wolves - Bruno's first appearance since his transfer from Sporting CP was completed.
The Portuguese midfielder should focus on creating and producing goals as he cannot do that attacking job effectively if he is worried about the defensive side of his game too. McTominay can be relied upon and will understand what United need, as he is a player that truly understands the club and his role.
The surprisingly impressive partnership of Nemanja Matic and Fred, who have played well together recently, might mean it is more of a challenge for McTominay to inherit his spot back, but McTominay's value to the team in its current standing is strong enough to warrant him earning his spot back straight away. It's in Solskjaer's best interests to make it happen.
Paul Pogba's return (if it happens, of course) later down the line will only help further. Midfield has been United's key area of weakness this season and seeing both of their best players in the middle of the park ruled out long-term has really hindered on field performance.
For all of United's obvious shortcomings, it's perhaps not been stressed enough that they'd have been better off with the two fit and ready to go.
We're getting closer to a time where that will happen, and it's up to United to deliver with them.
Source : 90min