Returning McNair must not be rushed into NI duty: Sunderland boss
Sunderland manager Simon Grayson believes Michael O’Neill should think carefully before deciding whether or not to select Paddy McNair for the Northern Ireland squad ahead of the play-offs for a World Cup Finals place.
Northern Ireland will find out on Tuesday who they will face in the shootout to make it to Russia with Croatia, Switzerland, Denmark or Italy possible opponents.
Ballyclare man McNair made a goalscoring return from cruciate knee ligament damage at home to Hertha Berlin on Tuesday but Grayson has cautioned against any risk taking with the 22-year-old’s fitness.
“He won’t be far away but he’ll be short of game-time,” said Grayson. “The attitude with Paddy is that we’ve got to be very careful not to rush him back. He’ll play on Monday at Arsenal, then possibly at Everton on the Friday when there’s another (under-) 23s game. Grimsby is just before the international weekend (on November 8) so I don’t know.
“It’ll be touch-and-go but it will certainly be a positive boost for him if he’s to be around it, but it’s a tough ask when you’ve been out for 10 months to be back that quickly.”