In an interview which appears on Teesside Live, Middlesbrough midfielder Paddy McNair admits he feels ‘restricted’ playing in the centre of defence.
The Northern-Ireland international has arguably been Middlesbrough’s best player so far this term and showed his quality with a fantastic cross for Marcus Browne’s equaliser against Bournemouth last weekend.
McNair is naturally a central midfielder and showed as much last season under previous boss Jonathan Woodgate. He was used predominantly in the centre of the park but has been utilised as a defender under new manager Neil Warnock.
Speaking to Teesside Live, he admitted that he has never been a defender but he is happy to contribute any way he can.
“Until I was 18, I played in midfield,” he said. “Van Gaal played me at centre-back [at Manchester United]. So a lot of people think I’m a defender but I’ve not really ever been a defender. In midfield, a number 10, I’ll play wherever – so long as I score two!”
“I’ve played right-back a few times in my career. My ideal position is midfield, but I will play in any position where I am needed. In club football it’s good to be versatile, but it can also work against you. As long as you’re in the 11, you’re happy.”
But he stated that playing in the centre of defence is restrictive.
“I like getting box to box and joining up with the play. When I play at centre-back I feel a bit restricted.”
His performances at the back will mean he will continue in this role for the time being, especially with limited options at Neil Warnock’s disposal.