Paddy McNair has revealed that he would relish the opportunity to play in a midfield role for Manchester United.
McNair, who has largely featured as a right-back and centre-back for Man United, impressed in a defensive midfield role for Northern Ireland in recent friendlies against Wales and Slovenia.
Ahead of defenders Gareth McAuley, Jonny Evans and Craig Cathcart and alongside Steven Davis and Oliver Norwood, McNair provided a solid defensive shield and also showcased his ability on the ball. The 20-year-old believes he is capable of filling the role for United but insisted he is just focused on getting more playing time.
“I am learning about the holding midfield position and really enjoy playing it for Northern Ireland,” McNair said.
“It is sort of new to me but I have good players around me in Gareth, Craig and Jonny in defence and Steven and Ollie are beside me in midfield so they make my life a lot easier and help me through the game. A lot of people said when I was growing up that I would end up in midfield and to have played there a few times at international level is great.
“I started playing centre-back for United and maybe now people see me as a centre-back but personally I think I’m more of a midfielder. If I had the chance to play the holding midfield role at United that would be fantastic. If I’m told though to play centre-back, right-back or wherever, I’ll be happy enough because I want to play games.
“I’ve had a lot of injuries this season which haven’t helped so my aim is to keep working hard at the club and get as many matches as I can until the end of the season. We have Everton on Sunday and if I’m involved that would be great. I really want to keep my fitness up for the Euros and go into that tournament feeling confident.”
McNair enjoyed a promising debut campaign under Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford last season but his progress this term has stalled while the likes of Marcus Rashford, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson have impressed.
With Bastian Schweinsteiger now injured, van Gaal may look at McNair’s performances for Northern Ireland and consider him in a midfield role should Michael Carrick or Morgan Schneiderlin be out for whatever reason. While limited creatively, McNair has proven to be a solid performer during his time at United.