Scott McTominay following Robert Lewandowski template in bid to excel for Scotland and Manchester United

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But the Scotland midfielder has long admired the brilliant and durable Poland striker whom he regards as an ideal role model for his own ambitions of improvement and longevity.

McTominay is set to face Lewandowski at Hampden on Thursday night in the friendly fixture which has replaced Scotland’s delayed World Cup play-off semi-final against Ukraine.

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For the 25-year-old Manchester United player, the opportunity to share a pitch with the Bayern Munich superstar is one he relishes.

Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay is set to win his 29th cap for Scotland in the friendly against Poland at Hampden on Thursday night. (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group)

“I’ve never played against him properly before,” said McTominay. “I played against him in a friendly for Manchester United away to Bayern (in 2018).

“Obviously, his goal record speaks for itself – he’s a phenomenal footballer. But the way he looks after his body, it’s something I aspire to be like when I’m a bit older. You get what you put into football.

“He obviously works extremely hard at his game and at looking after himself. He deserves every credit and all the success in the world for that.

“It’s what football’s about, you always want to improve. Doing things in your spare time looking to improve, looking at every detail. As you get older, you start being more wise about your body and the way you can adapt to certain situations in football and off the pitch as well.

Scott McTominay (right) with Stoke City striker Jacob Brown (left) during Scotland’s training session on Wednesday ahead of the Hampden friendly against Poland on Thursday. (Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group)

“I’m just maintaining similar to what I used to do when I was 18, 19, the gym work and the analysis work, things I’ve been really conscious of over the years. It’s always benefited me and it’s what I’ll continue to do.

“Every year, you want to get better and better as a player and obviously as a person as well.

“Now I’m getting more confidence and becoming more senior, you’d like to think in terms of football and playing for Scotland, you start having more input in what happens. I feel like my opinions, and the way I address the game of football, is positive.

“Whenever you are playing for Scotland you want to play against the best. That’s the only way you find out if you are any good or not.

“You don’t get any better by playing against not as good a caliber of player. For us, there will be boys who’ve never played against someone like Robert Lewandowski.”

McTominay is eager to return to action for Scotland, having missed the last two World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Denmark in November because of a throat infection he picked up during the squad’s training camp in Alicante.

“That week in Spain I was in my hotel room for four or five days struggling with an illness which was quite bad,” he said.

“I couldn’t get out of bed. When I did manage to get home and was watching the games on TV, I hated it. Even if I miss one game of football for club or country, it’s hard to watch.

“You just want the game to be over and for us to have won. You just want to get back playing yourself as there’s nothing worse. You feel like you are in the wrong place, sitting at home watching when all the boys are at Hampden. It’s so good to be back.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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