Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland v Greece: Determined Paddy McNair has his mind set on France

By Steven Beacom

Forget a beach in Spain, a holiday to Florida or a break in Dubai, the only place Manchester United youngster Paddy McNair is interested in going to next summer is France.

And he hopes to book the trip with Northern Ireland tomorrow night. McNair is expected to come into Michael O'Neill's starting line-up against Greece at Windsor Park in the holding midfield role, replacing the suspended Chris Baird.

Given how crucial Baird has been in the campaign, it will be an important role for the 20-year-old from Ballyclare.

McNair will relish the opportunity and is keen to do his bit to help Northern Ireland qualify for the European Championship finals for the first time in the nation's history.

Victory over Greece would assure O'Neill's men of a place at Euro 2016.

"If we win, then we'll qualify. It's in our hands and we're desperate to take our chance," said McNair. "Playing at the Euros would be special and, hopefully, we'll do the job. I haven't booked any holidays next summer yet!"

Last season saw McNair make the breakthrough at club and international level, making his debuts for both Manchester United and Northern Ireland.

He added: "My Northern Ireland debut was the highlight of last season, along with my United debut against West Ham at Old Trafford.

"There is a lot of excitement about the Northern Ireland team at home because we are close to qualifying. It's given everyone a lift and we are excited for the match against Greece."

Tomorrow's crucial Euro 2016 qualifier between Romania and Finland will be played in front of fans after all, following Uefa's decision to lift a ban imposed on the Romanians.

The ban came about after Romania fans were accused of racism and throwing missiles during a match against Greece in Bucharest.

The Finnish Football Federation announced: "According to the Uefa decision, the punishment will be postponed due to additional research, and the game will be played in Bucharest in front of an audience as usual."

Belfast Telegraph