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.

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Speaking to Teesside Live, he admitted that he has never been a defender but he is happy to contribute any way he can.

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“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.”

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But he stated that playing in the centre of defence is restrictive.

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“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.