McNair thrilled injury nightmare is over
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."