And it’s not the first-time the Scottish midfielder has proven to be the match-winner for United this season. He’s the club’s top league scorer in 2023/24 with seven goals, the majority of which have been decisive.
Back in October, McTominay came off the bench to strike twice in injury time as United came from a goal down to dramatically beat Brentford. He scored the opener in the following game in a 2-1 win over Sheffield United, and in December bagged another brace when Ten Hag’s side beat Chelsea by the same scoreline, although he started in both of those clashes.
In United’s recent three-game streak his impact as a replacement has again come to the fore. Against Wolves, with his side 2-1 up, the 27-year-old scored within two minutes of being introduced, with the visitors eventually going on to triumph 4-3.
In the 3-0 win over West Ham, a second-half appearance yielded a vital late assist, and his bullet header at Villa Park came 13 minutes after his Dutch manager brought him on in place of Marcus Rashford. And post-match, McTominay’s attitude was praised by United legend Roy Keane, who cited his refusal to sulk despite not nailing down a regular place in the XI.
The importance of the club academy graduate’s contributions are underlined by a telling statistic. His goals have been worth 12 points to United this season, the most to any side in the Premier League, with Son Heung-min (10 points) and Dominic Solanke (nine points) the closest players to him.
Therefore, comparisons to Hernandez have been inevitable. The Mexican striker was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2010 and remained at United for five years – although his final season was spent on loan at Real Madrid. He eventually left for Bayer Leverkusen at the start of the 2015/16 campaign having scored 59 times in 157 appearances.
But due to the vast amount of substitute appearances, his goals-to-minutes played ratio remains the best in Premier League history.
Unlike McTominay though, who won his first major honour with the club last season when he appeared in the League Cup final against Newcastle, Hernandez won two league crowns with the Red Devils. He would later return to England to play for West Ham, and also had stints at Sevilla and La Galaxy.