| 12.1°C Belfast

Paddy McNair's new Manchester United deal will help him flourish


Paddy McNair tackles Burnley's Michael Kightly

Paddy McNair tackles Burnley's Michael Kightly

Getty Images

Paddy McNair tackles Burnley's Michael Kightly

Northern Ireland teenager Paddy McNair will keep his feet firmly on the ground, despite signing a new life-changing contract at Manchester United.

So says Ulster scout Tony Coulter, who spotted McNair's talent at the age of 12, and set him on the road to stardom.

The 19-year-old from Ballyclare, who has impressed in his breakthrough season as a first team player at United and played in last night's win over Burnley, was overjoyed earlier this week to agree a deal which will see him stay at Old Trafford until 2017 at least.

The contract provides stability for the Northern Ireland under-21 international and a huge increase in pay, rising from £2,000 per week to around £25,000.

It will also mean more scrutiny and pressure, all of which some youngsters at big clubs have found difficult to cope with in the past, but United's Northern Ireland scout Coulter is confident that McNair will flourish with help from his family and the Red Devils.

"Paddy will keep his feet on the ground. He is a level headed young man and has good people around him, especially his family, which is very important," said Tony, who succeeded his late father, the legendary Eddie, in what is regarded as a key role by the Old Trafford hierarchy.

"Paddy is the type of person who knows what he wants in life and he won't be overawed or affected by this new deal. He is a sensible lad. I think he will handle all the elements that come with the new contract just fine.

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

"The club itself will keep him going in the right direction as well. From my own experience any of the boys who we send over from Northern Ireland are looked after very well and treated second to none.

"Teenagers like Paddy are given great guidance, and that includes when signing a new contract. Helping young lads develop off the pitch is important to United, just as it is to develop them on the pitch.

"An illustration of that is how conscious United are in making sure the education of the boys comes first because anything can happen in football.

"The Northern Ireland defender Jonny Evans, who like Paddy was at our School of Excellence, was a great example of someone doing well with his schooling when he was a kid coming through the ranks at United. He was a clever boy and worked hard at his lessons to get A grades in his exams."

Since being spotted playing for Ballyclare Colts, McNair, yet to win a senior cap, has gone from strength to strength and has shown for United he can play in a number of positions.

Coulter said: "I spotted Paddy when he was about 12 and he was a great prospect.

"At that time he played in midfield and he initially went over to Manchester United as a midfielder.

"They have switched him to defence and he has done really, really well as a centre back and even at right back when they have played him there in the first team.

"The night he played right back against Cambridge in the FA Cup at Old Trafford I thought he was the man of the match. He looked really confident going forward which is a big thing for modern day full-backs.

"I believe that he can play anywhere across the backline and if pushed could still do a job in midfield, where he started off.

"He has grasped his opportunity at United with both hands and it is fantastic to see.

"I speak to Paddy's parents and they keep me in touch with how he is doing over there and his dad phoned me at the weekend to let me know about the new deal.

"That was very good of Paddy's dad and shows what sort of family he comes from. I was delighted for him because he really is a good young man.

"I hope he gets that first cap soon. The way I see it if he can play with the top club in the world I think he could do well in the Northern Ireland team."

Top Videos