England’s Gareth Southgate backs Manchester United’s Scott McTominay


England manager Gareth Southgate has wished Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay well after he chose to represent Scotland, also saying that Bayer Leverkusen’s Jamaica-born winger Leon Bailey is on the Football Association’s radar.

McTominay’s father is from Scotland but he was born in England, meaning he was eligible to play for either country, but he opted for Scotland and is in line to make his debut against Costa Rica next week.

“Discussions with our development teams have been going on with Scott for a few months,” Southgate told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“It wasn’t so much on the senior radar because I’m always conscious of what would that have meant for Harry Winks, for Lewis Cook, for Nathaniel Chalobah, who have been in our system all the way through.

“But he’s playing well and we’re always keen to speak to players who might fit into our system at some level.

“What became apparent before I had the chance to speak with him in particular — I was going to Manchester United anyway – was that he had made his mind up that Scotland were keen for him to play for them and he feels Scottish.

“You have to absolutely respect that decision. I think international football has to be decision of the heart so we wish him well with that.”

Leverkusen’s Bailey, meanwhile, has played for Jamaica’s under-23s but is still eligible for the Three Lions.

Two of the 20-year-old’s grandparents reportedly hold British passports and the FA is keeping tabs on him.

“Well, I’d have to say until a few months ago we had no indication that he was eligible for England,” Southgate said.

“That’s still a process that is ongoing and now that issue has been flagged, he’s somebody we’ll monitor more closely.

“But that’s more for our talent identification department at this stage than it is for my selection in the short term.”

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