Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay has withdrawn from the Scotland squad ahead of his country’s final World Cup qualifying group match against Denmark on Monday night.
McTominay missed Scotland’s 2-0 win over Moldova on Friday through illness and has not recovered in time to play any part against Denmark at Hampden Park.
“Scott hasn’t recovered enough from his virus,” was manager Steve Clarke’s assessment.
Fortunately for Scotland, the loss of a key player won’t affect their bid to qualify for a World Cup for the first time since 1998. Although unable to catch Denmark, who were the first European nation to book a place in Qatar next winter, they are already assured of a playoff place and will compete for one of the final three UEFA places at the second round mini-tournament in March.
McTominay is replaced in the squad by 22-year-old uncapped Hibernian defender Ryan Porteous.
McTominay, who has been a Scotland regular since 2018, has already missed football this season because of a pre-season groin injury that required surgery. He has started nine of United’s last 11 games in all competitions and it makes sense for him not to push himself.
United staff will hope that McTominay has recovered in time to face Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday, with the club desperate for Premier League points following a dreadful recent run.
The 24-year-old has been a key player for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the under fire United boss will be relying on big performances from a number of players against the Hornets.
United have lost four of their last six Premier League games, taking four points from a possible 18 during that time. They have also struggled to get results in the Champions League, have been knocked out of the Carabao Cup and arguably haven’t given a good all-round performance since the opening day of the Premier League season against Leeds way back in August.