Despite having only played there once before for the U21s, McNair found it easy to make the step up and looked extremely accomplished both in attack and defence from an unorthodox right-back position.
Speaking about his performance at right-back, McNair said: ”I enjoyed it getting down the right flank and getting forward. It was a bit different. You have got a bit more running forward to do.
“You do a lot more sprinting and overlapping and a lot of the time I was in their 18 yard box. When you’re a centre back you don’t get over the halfway line much. Especially in the first half, I was forward all the time. In the second half, I was getting a bit tired running up and down.
“When you’re a centre back, you always want your right back to cover you. When I was playing there, I knew exactly where my centre back would want me.”
Louis van Gaal has shown in his time at United that he likes players with intelligence who can play in multiple positions and McNair clearly fits in that category. It’s great for McNair that he thinks in that fashion as it will really help him in terms of progressing during his career.
The 19-year-old’s pace caused real problems for the League Two side and he wasn’t afraid to come inside and create things himself.
Van Gaal was so impressed he said McNair could play at right back at United for the next ten years. It could just be designed to boost McNair’s confidence but it puts the ball firmly in the Northern Irishman’s court to make sure he puts everything in to making the most of his opportunties.
His versatility will be needed as the club continue their goal of securing qualification for the Champions League next season.