Scott McTominay follows Robert Lewandowski’s model as he aims to excel for Scotland and Manchester United

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But the Scottish midfielder has long admired the brilliant and enduring Polish striker whom he sees as an ideal role model for his own ambitions for improvement and longevity.

McTominay is set to face Lewandowski at Hampden on Thursday night in the friendly that 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 chance to share a pitch with the Bayern Munich superstar is one he relishes.

Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay is set to earn 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 him properly before,” McTominay said. “I played against him in a friendly match for Manchester United against Bayern (in 2018).

“Obviously his goalscoring record speaks for itself – he’s a phenomenal footballer. But the way he takes care of his body is something I aspire to be when I’m a bit older. You get what you put in football.

“He obviously works extremely hard at his game and taking care of himself. He deserves all the credit and all the success in the world for that.

“That’s football, you always want to improve. Doing things in your free time trying to improve, watching every detail. As you get older you start to be wiser about your body and how you can adapt to certain situations in football and off the pitch.

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

“I just maintain what I did when I was 18, 19, gym work and analysis work, things that I’ve been very aware of over the years. It’s always benefited me and that’s what I will continue to do.

“Every year you want to improve as a player and obviously as a person too.

“Now I’m gaining confidence and getting more senior, you’d like to think in terms of football and playing for Scotland, you’re starting to have more influence on what happens. I feel like my opinions and the way I approach football are positive.

“Every time you play for Scotland you want to play against the best. It’s the only way to know if you’re good or not.

“You don’t improve by playing against lesser players. For us, there will be boys who have 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 due to a throat infection he contracted during the team training camp in Alicante.

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

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

“You just want the game to be over and we won. You just want to start playing yourself again because there’s nothing worse. You feel like you’re in the wrong place, sitting at home to watch when all the boys are in Hampden. It’s so good to be back.

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