Belfast Telegraph

McNair thrilled injury nightmare is over

 

By Graham Luney

Northern Ireland international Paddy McNair has spoken of his relief after returning to action nearly one year on after suffering a horrendous cruciate ligament injury.

The 22-year-old from Ballyclare ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament during Sunderland's 3-0 Premier League home win over Hull last November.

But after a long rehabilitation period, he played the first half of an Under-23 friendly match against Hertha Berlin on Tuesday night and marked his comeback with a goal.

Sunderland have sinked out of the Premier League and made a nightmare start to life in the Championship since McNair suffered his knee injury, while Northern Ireland have managed to force their way into a play-off spot for the World Cup in Russia next summer.

McNair's return to fitness could now see him make the squad for Northern Ireland's play-off games against either Switzerland, Croatia, Denmark or Italy next month.

"It's been a long 10 months so to get over the white line again was really good," McNair said.

"Playing football is what I love to do, and when it's taken away from you it's not nice, so it's great to be back. It was even better to get a goal because everyone likes scoring and now I just want to get back and help the team.

"The Stadium of Light is a great place to play so hopefully in a few weeks I'm back playing in front of a full house with the first team."

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