SCOTT McTominay is, it is worth remembering amid all of the hype and hysteria about him, still just 21 and has only played in 20 games of senior football.

So it is asking a great deal of him, just as it was of Oliver Burke after he made his record-breaking £13 million move to RB Leipzig two years ago, to automatically shine for Scotland despite the level he is playing his club football at.

Burke, who is now at West Brom, was dropped from the national team by former manager Gordon Strachan after just two games of the Russia 2018 qualifying campaign because it was felt he lacked the requisite experience.

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There is every chance that McTominay, despite impressing in the holding midfield role for Manchester United in both the Champions League and Premier League this season, will also take some time to establish himself with his country.

Alex McLeish, who made ensuring that an individual who has become one of the hottest properties in British football in recent months would represent Scotland his first priority after being appointed manager for a second time last month, has been at pains to stress that fact.

However, speaking for the first time since being called up for the friendly international double header against Costa Rica and Hungary last week – in an interview which was conducted by the Scottish Football Association media team and posted on their official website and Twitter feed - the man of the moment stressed that it is his goal to play.

“I have to thank the boss for giving me the opportunity to join up with the squad,” said McTominay. “Now I can hopefully show people what I can do. I’m looking to the future and hope to do well.

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“I’m an honest player who wants to put every single thing onto the football pitch with some quality passes. I want to drive with the ball and be a success with Scotland in the future if I get the chance.”

Doubts that a player who was born and brought up in Lancashire and operating at such a high level down south would choose to play for Scotland when England manager Gareth Southgate was keen to select him were expressed almost as soon as it emerged he could represent this country.

But McTominay, who is almost certain to be involved against Costa Rica at Hampden on Friday evening, revealed there had never been any doubt in his mind which national team he wanted to play for.

“Whenever you speak to the manager it’s great,” he said. “I was so happy he took the time to come down and speak to me first and foremost. He travelled down a hell of a long way to speak to me and I have to thank him for that.

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“But the conversation that we had was relatively simple. I wanted to play for Scotland and I always have done since I was a young boy. It was an incredibly proud moment for me when he did call me up. Hopefully I can now kick on and do well.

“My dad is tremendously proud of me, as are the rest of my family as well, as it’s a big honour for me to come here with the Scotland national team. That’s what you work for your whole life, from when you’re a young kid, to hopefully get into the national team, improve and do well.”

Despite his youth and inexperience, McTominay has already been through a great deal in his embryonic career. He spent a long time on the sidelines as a teenager after experiencing a massive growth spurt. He went from being 5ft 6in to 6ft 4in in the space of little over a year. But he believes coming through that has toughened him up and will stand him in good stead in future.

“When I was younger there were a lot of lows,” he said. “I did go through some difficult periods when I was 15 and 16, just through growing and not playing as much football as I wanted.

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“But you have to respect what you get given in football and work hard, as I have done to get to where I am at the minute. I just want to keep playing for my club and hopefully get a chance to play for my country and do well.

“I feel like that’s made me stronger mentality for when things aren’t going right. If something happens in a match it means you are strong mentally.

“That comes from the recent past when I was a little bit smaller and had to deal with different things like not playing and not getting as much game-time as I wanted. But that’s behind me now and I want to focus on my club and country.”

Having a Scottish player who is a regular starter at Manchester United is, while rare, not unique in modern times. McTominay admitted that Darren Fletcher, who spent 12 years in the first team at Old Trafford, had been encouraging to him.

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“We played Stoke earlier in the season and I spoke with Darren Fletcher,” he said. “He was really good with me and just told me to keep working hard and keep looking to improve every day.

“That’s the message I get every day from the manager too as well as Alex McLeish, the boss here as well. I feel as though these messages are so important for me and I need to listen and hopefully do well.

“But Darren Fletcher trained with us a couple of times when I was younger and I looked to him as a real role model. He was a leader at the football club like Michael Carrick, who really took to me and helped me improve.”

Despite never representing Scotland at any age-group level, due largely to the growing pains he experience as a teenager, McTominay has never represented his adopted homeland at any level.

He was, though, part of a get-together of promising English-based youngsters a few years ago and has recognised a few of his new team mates in the national squad.

“I have a lot of good memories from that training camp,” he said. “Ricky Sbragia and John Collins took the team so there were a lot of familiar faces there. Hopefully I get to see them in the future.

“Oli McBurnie, who is in the current squad, was there too. I can’t remember if Oli had his socks down, but he probably did have that same look he has now. But he’s a man who won’t change and hopefully he never does.”