Speaking to Sky Sports, Gary Neville has backed Paddy McNair for a bright future at Manchester United after witnessing his performance in the Under-21 side’s 2-1 win over Liverpool.
McNair, 19, netted the winner with a fine finish at Leigh Sports Village on Monday night, while also filling in at both centre-back and in a holding midfield role over the course of the 90 minutes.
Having made his first-team debut earlier this season, the promising defender has endured a few hiccups since, including being taken off in the 39th-minute of December’s 2-1 win at Southampton, but Neville believes he has the makings of a future United stalwart.
“He’s a good footballer," he said. "Louis van Gaal has thrust him into the first team. He came to Man Utd as a No 10, he’s learning so much, and you expect so much of them when they go in the first team.
"He had a couple of unfortunate experiences, away at Southampton when he was substituted on Monday Night Football, but he’s come back from that and you can see tonight he looks a real good player.”
With a spate of injuries hitting United earlier in the season, Louis van Gaal was forced to call upon McNair for the first time in September, when he made his first senior outing in the 2-1 home win over West Ham United.
The Northern Ireland Under-21 international has since earned nine further appearances under the Dutchman, and Neville believes his versatility, having arrived at the club as a midfielder, is what sets him apart from other prospects at his age.
That finish, a striker would have been proud of that," Neville added.
"He was good in the first half, good on the ball in the second and actually when he went into midfield and played in the holding role, he showed he could play there too."