Northern Ireland assistant coach Austin MacPhee reckons Paddy McNair would be a huge asset to the Celtic team and has labelled him “a brilliant box-to-box midfielder”.
Brendan Rodgers is understood to be keen to sign the 21-year-old from Manchester United on loan and a deal could go through this week. Old Trafford boss Jose Mourinho has a good working relationship with Rodgers after their time together at Chelsea and he would trust the Parkhead boss with his player.
Scotsman MacPhee has worked closely with McNair for the past two years and became even more impressed with him seeing him every day at work for six weeks during the Euro finals in France.
The former St Mirren coach said: “A number of people have Paddy down as being a central defender or a full-back. That’s probably because Louis van Gaal played him there for Manchester United.
“But Paddy’s best position is in central midfield. Van Gaal also knew this but maybe it was the Dutch way of trying to turn him into a ball-playing central defender.
“However, Paddy has all the attributes to be a top-class central midfielder. He is a tremendous athlete, has unbelievable running power and has incredible energy levels. Such are his levels of fitness, he has the capacity to run 13k or 14k in a match and that is quite extraordinary.
“He is a powerful player and a box-to-box midfielder. Michael O’Neill and everyone in the Northern Ireland set-up is in agreement about that. Ask Steve Davis about him and he’d also tell you that Paddy is best in central midfield.
“Paddy is also a beautiful striker of a moving ball. He has so much going for him as a footballer.”
MacPhee has also been impressed with McNair’s dedication and said: “Paddy has a first class attitude. He is keen to work and learn. I worked with him quite a bit during the European Championships.
“He always wants to do extra sessions, whether it’s out on the training pitch or video analysis work. He is a pleasure to work with and I’ve enjoyed and admired his professionalism in the Northern Ireland set-up.”