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Gary Neville suggests new position for Scott McTominay during Man Utd’s win over Brighton

Scott McTominay runs with the ball during Manchester United's Premier League victory over Brighton
Scott McTominay came on as a second-half substitute for Manchester United at Brighton (Picture: Getty)

Gary Neville believes Scott McTominay has the ‘aggression’, ‘speed’ and ‘understanding’ to play in central defence and urged Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to experiment with him at the back during Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Brighton.

The Red Devils produced one of their most convincing Premier League performances yet under Solskjaer as Bruno Fernandes once again inspired them to victory with a sublime individual display at the Amex Stadium.

Mason Greenwood further enhanced his reputation with a brilliant opener on the south coast as he deceived Lewis Dunk before beating Mat Ryan at his near post with a snap shot.

Fernandes’ deflected strike doubled the visitors’ tally going into half-time before the Portuguese rounded off a free-flowing team move in the 50th minute to complete his brace and put the icing on the cake on an impressive night from a United perspective.

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The competition for places in Solskjaer’s starting XI has risen significantly amid their 15-match unbeaten streak, especially in the engine room where Nemanja Matic, Fred and McTominay are all competing for a spot at the base of United’s midfield behind Fernandes and Paul Pogba.

Matic runs with the ball during Manchester United's win at Brighton
Matic has been a key player for United in recent months (Picture: Getty)

Academy product McTominay has proven himself to be a valuable option in the middle of the park under Jose Mourinho and, now, Solskjaer but ex-United right-back Neville suggested the Scot should be trialled at centre-half given Matic’s resurgence in recent months.

‘Nemanja Matic does look resurrected in that red shirt,’ Neville said on Sky Sports’ shortly after McTominay was introduced in the 64th minute.

‘There was a period where he looked exposed in that midfield but with Fred, McTominay and now Pogba and Fernandes, he looks so much more comfortable again.

‘I just watch McTominay play and I think of all that competition in midfield and I wonder whether he could be used as a centre-back.

‘He’s got the aggression and he’s got the speed.

‘His understanding of the game is pretty good and he’s still young.’

Gary Neville working with Sky Sports
Neville would like to see how McTominay copes in central defence (Picture: Getty)

Neville – an outspoken critic of United in their years under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho – is optimistic about the club’s direction again but feels they still need ‘three of four’ quality additions to close the gap on the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City.

‘There’s no doubt that a year ago there was a massive worry about the club’s direction, where it was going,’ he said in an Instagram post on Wednesday morning.

‘There’s a huge improvement, the club has been sanitised from a point of view of players who were just coming for money.

‘When you look at the ones out on the pitch, theres a mixture of ones who weren’t working who are now working because they’re surrounded by better players.

‘Young players who are desperate to play for the club and some players who have got great ability have realigned their commitment over the last few months and are certainly in a better frame of mind.

‘However, now is the time to go for it, get those three or four players who are needed, close that gap now when the rest are maybe not reinvesting and get closer to that title.’

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United’s win on Tuesday night ensured Solskjaer’s men ramped up the pressure on fourth-placed Chelsea, who travel to lowly West Ham on Wednesday evening.

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MORE: Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood matches Wayne Rooney record with Brighton goal

MORE: Manchester United fans will love Paul Scholes’ reaction to eye-catching victory over Brighton

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