Is Paddy McNair A Long Term Solution In The Midfield For Sunderland?

Sunderland found a welcome relief when they beat QPR at Loftus Road to progress into the 4th round of the EFL Cup. New manager David Moyes has had a wretched time to manage the difficulties prevailing at the club as the Black Cats are yet to win a game in the Premier League going into the 6th Game week.

The feeling of a drastic change has been quickly put to bed by the manager himself who very rightly has indicated that a change will take time and fans shouldn’t expect anything miraculous this season. The win against QPR would have given Sunderland fans the unparalleled joy of victory after some time, that winning feeling which seemed so hard to experience as a Sunderland fan.

One of the main reasons behind the visitors’ victory was the performance of new recruit Paddy McNair. The Northern Ireland international, joined Sunderland from Manchester United, where he spent a part of his youth career, for a fee of £4.5m in the summer. The player who is actually recognized as a defender, used to play as a playmaker in his development years and it was his show in midfield that brought about a turn in the fortunes of David Moyes on the night. Prospering with his forward runs playing in the midfield beside the energetic Didier N’dong, Mc Nair caused the Hoops defence a lot of problems.

Sunderland's Scottish manager David Moyes gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland at White Hart Lane in London, on September 18, 2016. / AFP / Ian KINGTON / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Sunderland’s Scottish manager David Moyes gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland at White Hart Lane in London, on September 18, 2016. / AFP / Ian KINGTON / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

It was a real surprise for most of the fans to see McNair flourishing in a position. They never could have guessed but they certainly won’t be complaining now. It was very interesting however, to listen to what Moyes had to say after the game on the performance of the youngster.

Moyes remarked, “There’s sometimes a bit of a misconception, Paddy is a midfield player and he is an attacking midfield player. When he started as a boy he was actually a number ten, but then he grew and people dropped him further back. Maybe in time he will be a centre-half or a holding midfield player, but he’s very much an attacking midfield player. We’ve seen that in training. He is a good finisher, he strikes the ball cleanly. We’ll need to try and find the right spot for him. It was hard on him because he scored an own-goal on his debut at Man City. I think he’ll be a really good buy for us in time, but it’s going to take a bit of time because he is still young and needs a bit of development.”

The very fact that the Scotsman is ready to be open to the possibility of McNair prospering in a role he has instincts for and familiar in the past can only lead to a great deal of development for the player. There has been numerous instances of a player being transformed into a bit more matured role as he gets older and the Northern Ireland international can still play at the defence or as the holding midfielder in the future just as his manager says.

When Mikel Arteta was transformed into a deep lying playmaker who did some serious defensive work for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal since his move from Everton, Moyes didn’t show any surprise, instead he clearly said at that time that he himself was tempted to use him in that particular role but with his physicality not being at the required level for that position, the Spaniard was used as an attacking midfielder.

Everybody knows that Moyes got the best out of Arteta as an attacking midfielder and with McNair he can also do the same by playing him in a more advanced position of the Sunderland midfield.

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Arka Tarun Mukherjee

Arsenal fan and football expert, Arka Tarun Mukherjee actually used to play cricket at semi pro level. An ardent student of football tactics, ATM is very passionate about the tactical aspects of the game and has a dream of being a football manager in the future.

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