Manchester United beat Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge to make the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.
When Roy Keane was at Manchester United, he could do the lot. He was capable of dictating a game, delivering crunching tackles and finding the net as he led the Red Devils to silverware aplenty under Sir Alex Ferguson.
For years, they’ve gone without a player like the former Republic of Ireland international. Even when Keane left, United didn’t replace him. They instead relied on forwards like Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez, Dimitar Berbatov, Javier Hernandez and Robin van Persie to steer them to the trophies they craved.
However, Manchester United may finally have someone capable of replacing Keane. Scott McTominay, once mocked by the fans for being a Jose Mourinho favourite, was immense again against Chelsea.
The Scotland international started the match looking a tad nervous.
McTominay saw yellow early on for a crunching tackle on Matteo Kovacic, taking the Croatia international clean out.
It was the sort of tackle that Keane would commit week in, week out during his time at Old Trafford. One that leaves a mark on your opponent and gets your own fans singing your name in praise.
A couple of years ago, United saw Ander Herrera – whose tenacity saw him compared with Keane at times – sent off against Chelsea. He’d picked up a yellow early on and, after one foul too many, received his marching orders.
McTominay made no such mistake, however.
The United star was brilliant at staying disciplined. It’s that sort of trait which made Mourinho love him so much and swear blind that he was good enough to make it.
It was also the sort of thing that Keane was able to do during his time at the club. Some of his red cards were merely down to the fact that the Red Devils were winning – he wasn’t needed anymore.
Chelsea, at first, started brightly.
Christian Pulisic waltzed around the United defence with an air of confidence about him. Saturday’s sublime hat-trick against Burnley has clearly boosted his confidence.
Yet McTominay was unfazed. He was able to keep pace with the USA international for the most part, forcing Frank Lampard into tinkering with his setup.
The United captaincy will likely be available in a year’s time.
Harry Maguire skippered the side but McTominay is certainly passing the audition for the role. On this form, he’s undroppable for Solskjaer.
His fine performance against Chelsea has come after impressing against both Liverpool and Arsenal in the Premier League this season.
Against the Gunners he found the net with a scorching drive, winning plaudits and even managing to outshine Paul Pogba in the middle of the park.
And, against Liverpool earlier this month, he was key in United being able to shackle all of Jurgen Klopp’s creative players.
McTominay was standout for United and it appears he’s closer than ever to becoming what the club have sorely missed in recent years: a Keane successor.
Other mentions must go to Brandon Williams, who looked unfazed despite the Chelsea crowd giving him a tough time – particularly after an altercation with Callum Hudson-Odoi.
And it was another good performance from Marcus Rashford, who led the line well and deserves credit for keeping his composure from the penalty spot as well his unbelievable free-kick which moved in the air all over the place.
United are still very much a work in progress. While they may now have a Keane they also need successors to Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Ronaldo and much more.
But it’s another good step in the right direction for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.