Patrick “Paddy” McNair came into the public eye earlier this season with a fantastic début against West Ham. The young Northern Ireland defender was first noticed for Manchester United when he was 12 years old playing for Ballyclare Colts, as an attacking midfielder.

He joined the youth side at Manchester United in 2011 at the age of 16. Youth coach Paul McGuinness made the decision to move him from the midfield to the centre of defence. A move that looks to have suited Louis Van Gaal and his defence “crisis”. With McNair coming in and having two solid performances against West Ham and Everton. Including a vital header preventing Enner Valencia equalising for West Ham in the 2-1 win.

McNair signed a third-year scholarship so he could play in the 2013/2014 season. This meant he was eligible to play in the UEFA Youth League. He was sent off against Bayern Levurkesen for two bookable offences.

Even with him coming into the first team as a centre back and flourishing in the position. Under 21 coach Warren Joyce believes that if his development continues he could play more of a holding midfield role.

Regardless what position McNair plays in he looks a very promising prospect. With the lack of solid central defenders at United this season it looks as if he will get a chance to prove himself in the Premier League.

Louis Van Gaal’s record with youth is, impressive, to say the least. At Ajax he promoted Edwin Van Der Sar, Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids and Patrick Kluivert. During his spells at Barcelona Carles Puyol, Andres Iniesta and Xavi came up through the youth level.

Van Der Sar, Seedorf, Davids, Kluivert, Puyol, Iniesta, Xavi… McNair?

By Andrew Brown



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