Middlesbrough signed former-Manchester United and Sunderland man Paddy McNair in the summer, but the Northern Irishman has endured a difficult time since making the switch.

Competition for places at Middlesbrough means Paddy McNair has had to play a bit-part role, with his only starts for the club coming in the Carabao Cup. He is often used as a substitute in the latter stages of games in the Championship, and when he signed he would’ve been hoping to have more starts under his belt.

The likes of Adam Clayton and Jonny Howson are mainstays in the team, and new signings Muhamed Besic and George Saville are also in the mix, as well as players on the peripheries like Julien De Sart and Lewis Wing.

In an interview with The Belfast Telegraph, Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill spoke of his decision to play McNair at right-back in recent friendlies and in the UEFA Nations League, and said this could be the role for him going forwards for both club and country.

“He has to get his mind around to thinking that right-back or wing-back could be his position. Against Israel he was superb.

“I’ve said to Paddy that people are paying £50 million for full-backs these days, so it’s not a defensive position, it’s more an attacking position.”

O’Neill also addressed the situation at Boro, with the £5 million man not playing week-in-week-out, and not starting games in the Championship.

“Right now Paddy is not starting for Middlesbrough.

“The challenge for Paddy now is to get into the Middlesbrough team and be prepared to play anywhere at a time when they are flying at the top of the Championship.”

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Lifelong Boro fan - from the highs of watching Juninho and the Carling Cup victory, to the lows of Gordon Strachan and Lee Dong Gook

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