Four areas United's McNair is outperforming Hummels this season

Mats Hummels 2 Germany

Comparing the Manchester United centre-back with the Borussia Dortmund star this season.

Prior to this season many Manchester United fans felt they needed one, if not two, experienced centre-backs to complete their side.  With Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand moving on, surely Louis van Gaal would replace them rather than rely solely on the defenders he inherited.

But while Marcos Rojo's arrival calmed some of the nerves, injuries suffered by Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans suddenly left United worryingly thin at the back - to such an extent that Tyler Blackett, Tom Thorpe and Paddy McNair have all featured for the first-team far earlier than van Gaal may have envisaged.

But while Blackett was the star of the first few matches, it is McNair who appears to have taken over at the heart of United's defence despite being only 19.

The teenager started his second consecutive match on Sunday, helping United to a 2-1 win over Everton just a week after making his debut against West Ham United.  So how does McNair compare with arguably the one defender United fans are most desperate to see arrive at Old Trafford, Mats Hummels?

The German international has only recently returned after suffering a knee injury, but he has gone on to make four appearances for Borussia Dortmund and is now close to full match-fitness, playing all but 10 minutes of their last two league games.

As you can see from the table below, just taking into consideration this season's games, McNair has outperformed Hummels in four key areas.  

The Northern Irishman has a considerably higher passing accuracy of 87.23 per cent compared with Hummels' 76.3 per cent.  The United player also averages more interceptions per game and considerably more clearances while, for one so young, it is impressive that he is yet to commit a foul.

  Pass AccuracyInterceptions per gameClearances per gameFouls per gameAppsMins
Mats Hummels 76.3% 1.7 3 0.5 4 195
Patrick McNair 87.23% 2.00 8.50 0 2 180

Of course both players are at opposite ends of their trajectory.  McNair is just starting out in the game while Hummels is widely regarded as one of the best centre-backs in Europe.  And yet for now at least, the United player is more than holding his own, and that can only bode well for the matches, and the years, ahead.

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