Belfast Telegraph

Paddy McNair: I told Jose Mourinho I wanted to leave Manchester United and know I won't regret decision

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland star Paddy McNair has spoken about how he persuaded Jose Mourinho to allow him to leave Manchester United on a permanent basis.

The 21-year-old joined Sunderland in a £5.5million deal in August and insists he has no regrets despite the Black Cats languishing at the bottom of the Premier League table.

McNair had been at Old Trafford for five years and became a first-team player under Louis van Gaal, but when new boss Mourinho informed him in pre-season that he wanted the young midfielder to go out on loan, the Ballyclare man had a huge decision to make.

"I went on the pre-season tour and Mourinho said to me he would like me to go out on loan and I had a think about it," said McNair, who played twice in the Euro 2016 finals for Northern Ireland.

"I never wanted to go on loan. I was adamant I wanted to go on a permanent move. I spoke to Mourinho for a couple of weeks and basically persuaded him to let me go on a permanent deal.

"I see too many players go out on loan that don't play. You're never their player; it's a loan. I just wanted to go to Sunderland and play in the Premier League every week and that was my thinking behind it. I've no regrets."

Quizzed on whether he felt it was a tough call, McNair said: "No, it wasn't. My heart was set on going on a permanent (deal) and it's just what I wanted to do. I know I won't regret it because I know at that time I really wanted to do it. I'm glad I did it."

McNair has already enjoyed hearing Sunderland fans chanting his name after scoring twice in a League Cup tie at QPR.

He is hoping that type of form from midfield will finally put to bed the theory that he is a defender - the position he played when Van Gaal was in charge at United.

"I'm not a defender; I've never been a defender," McNair said.

"I filled in there a few times. Van Gaal played me there and I was happy to play there for him (but) in the back of my mind I always thought, 'No, this isn't my position, I know I'm a midfielder'.

"I don't play in defence any more, I've not played in defence in ages. I read people still calling me a defender; but I play in midfield for club and country."

McNair is relishing Northern Ireland's World Cup double-header against San Marino at home on Saturday and away to World champions Germany on Tuesday. It is likely he will play in both games.

"It's two different ends of the scale, I suppose. We're looking forward to it, playing at Windsor Park when it's reopened with all the stands. The lads can't wait to play there. It's going to be bouncing," said the Sunderland star.

"Hopefully we can take three points on Saturday and then go to Germany confident and you never know what can happen then.

"Anyone we face we're not really scared or anything like that, we're more excited to play them. We will be going there confident."

Belfast Telegraph


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