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Gary Neville picks out one Manchester United player who has surprised him – and highlights key area that needs strengthening

Scott McTominay

Gary Neville admits he has been surprised by Scott McTominay’s performances for Manchester United this season.

McTominay has emerged as a key player for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, who missed his presence in midfield in Sunday’s 3-3 draw with Sheffield United.

The Scotland international was stretchered off in the 3-1 victory over Brighton before the international break and faces several weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury.

And Neville believes United will struggle to replace the 22-year-old academy product.

“[McTominay will be] a big miss,” he told Sky Sports. “A year and a half to two years ago, I didn’t think Scott McTominay had the Manchester United quality to be a midfield player. I thought that he would end up playing more as a centre-back.

“He has surprised enormously and he’s surprised me in terms of his ability but he’s also surprised me in terms of his temperament and his character - it’s absolutely outstanding. He’s a leader on that pitch for United in a team that has struggled at times this season.”

Despite McTominay’s contributions, Neville believes United must seek reinforcements in the engine room when the transfer window reopens in January.

And the former defender also thinks his old club should sign a striker and a left-back.

“The midfield’s just a problem for United full stop, let’s be clear about it,” Neville added. “Even with Scott McTominay in it it’s a problem. They haven’t strengthened in that area, obviously [Paul] Pogba’s injured.

“It’s a problem for them and it’s just not good enough, the midfield just doesn’t have good enough quality.

“They need a striker, they need two midfield players, they need a left-back - they need five or six signings.

“They can’t do that until January and obviously the summer but the midfield will not go away as a problem for Manchester United just because of an injury. It’s a problem full stop - it needs strengthening.”

United travel to Kazakhstan to face Astana in the Europa League on Thursday, before a Premier League clash with Aston Villa next weekend.

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