THE lush and sprawling grounds of Markham College, a prestigious British-Peruvian school in the Miraflores district of Lima, should have provided a calming sanctuary for Scott McTominay at the end of what has been quite a season.

Even when he is over 6,000 miles away from his home, though, there is no escape from his new-found status as a player with one of the biggest clubs on the planet and an international footballer.

Local children wearing Manchester United strips, Scotland supporters who have made the 12 hour journey to South America to cheer on their team and expats excited at the presence of their famous visitors quickly surrounded him after a training session, looking for an autograph, wanting to take a selfie, trying to grab a word.

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McTominay duly obliged. He has quickly adapted to the demands of first team football at Old Trafford, including in the Champions League, and suggested in his brief appearance at Hampden against Costa Rica in March that he has much to offer his country in future. But he copes with his sudden celebrity, an inevitable by-product of his success, well too.

“Manchester United and Scotland are two big teams,” he said with admirable diplomacy for one so young later on during a chat with the media who are following the end-of-season tour of Peru and Mexico at the team hotel.

“Manchester United is a massive organisation. People are also interested in me because I am a Manchester United player. It is the same with Scotland. But I feel there has always been pressure on me, through Manchester United’s academy, from 16s to 21s, and the pressure is even bigger going into the first-team.

“Thousands of people are watching you in every match and as I have got older I have got better with dealing with the pressure. I tend not to think about it as much as some other boys might do. I just want to keep working hard. That is the most important thing for me just now.”

The 21-year-old is a credit to both his parents and his club. Pleasant, confident without being arrogant and remarkably articulate, he answers questions in his first interview with the Scottish press assuredly. It is obvious to see he has benefitted enormously from being mentored by two of the greatest managers in the game. He was eager to pay tribute to both Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson as he talks.

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“The things my manager at Manchester United has done for me has been incredible this season,” he said. “He is a top, top manager. I want to thank him. I didn’t want to say it on television or in interviews, but it is important to make sure he knows I am thankful to him for the chance he has given me and we can keep progressing into next season.”

McTominay reveals that both Mourinho and Ferguson had been influential when he opted to represent Scotland. “When I was in the development centres I was in and around The Cliff (the United training ground),” he said. “Alex was there and he spoke to my dad. After the memorial service for the Munich Disaster earlier this year he pulled me aside and told me: ‘Make sure you do play for Scotland!’

“I also spoke to my manager at Manchester United. He told me to go and do whatever I needed to do. His advice was to weigh up both sides and then go with whatever is in your heart. I had already made the decision so it was reasonably simple. I took my decision and then we took things from there.

“It stands you in real good stead. With Jose and Sir Alex it is the confidence they can give you. “Their belief gives you a bit more confidence going into matches. It is important to keep the confidence high and went to go into the games against Peru and Mexico and show people what we can do against two top teams.”

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Choosing to play for Scotland, the country of his father’s birth, ahead of England, where he has lived all his life, provoked an adverse reaction down south. The 6ft 4in midfielder, however, took the whole episode in his considerable stride. He has no regrets about his choice. Earning his first cap in front of his family was a special moment.

“I didn’t really pay too much attention as to what was being written about me,” he said. “You just have to block out stuff like that. As a footballer, you just need to keep focused on what you are doing every single day. There is a big pressure playing for Manchester United. You have to play under it and it does make you grow up quicker. I am more of a man than I was this time last year.”

McTominay continued: “I used to come up to Helensburgh every year. I used to go up and see my family, my aunties, my uncles, my grandparents and everyone else who lives there. That was where my dad was brought up. It is a place that holds really heavy in my heart.

“It was great and so important to see my grandad to see me play for Scotland. It was one of the proudest moments of my life and hopefully he can have lots more happy memories of me playing for Scotland.”

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McTominay had a difficult extended spell out of the game when he was a teenager due to an extraordinary growth spurt – he shot up 10 inches in the space of just 18 months – and coming through that has clearly made him a stronger character who is capable of withstanding whatever his career has thrown at him and should ensure he fulfils his enormous potential in seasons to come.

“From 16 to 19 I wasn’t in a state to be competing with men,” he said. “I was smaller and shorter. My body was all over the place, but as I got older I started to adapt to my body.

“You have to appreciate everything. You have to be confident in your own ability in everything you do. From playing with my primary school all those years ago to playing for Manchester United I have had to be confident. You have to be confident you can make an impression on people and that has been an important thing for me.

“I have real good friends and a tight network group who got me through those bad times I had. Now things are looking up and it is good for them – as these people are there for you through the good and the bad.

“I feel over the last four years that I have missed a lot of games. But in the last two years I have played centre midfield, been involved in a lot of matches and progressed at a rate I am happy with. I am not a perfectionist, but I want to keep improving. I want to know what I can do better every day and then I can go on and do better in the future.”