MacPhee says Paddy McNair can become a top-class central midfielder

James Weir celebrates scoring Manchester United's first goal with Paddy McNair

Celtic have been linked with a move for Manchester United youngster Paddy McNair in the summer transfer window.

Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward and Paddy McNair in action with Belarus' Andrey Gorbunov

Northern Ireland assistant coach Austin MacPhee has told The Scotsman that Paddy McNair’s best position is in midfield.

McNair is on the books of Manchester United at the moment and has been deployed largely as a defender so far.

The Northern Ireland international has yet to establish himself in the United first team, but he has featured in 11 matches for his country.

Manchester United's Paddy McNair shoots at goal

According to The Scotsman, Celtic are interested in signing the 21-year-old in the summer transfer window.

It has been reported that the Scottish Premiership champions want to secure the services of the youngster on a season-long loan deal.

MacPhee, who is 36 years of age, has suggested that for Celtic to get the best out of McNair, manager Brendan Rodgers should play him in a midfield role rather than restrict him to defence.

James Weir celebrates scoring Manchester United's first goal with Paddy McNair

“A number of people have Paddy down as being a central defender or a full-back,” MacPhee told The Scotsman. “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.”

McNair featured in eight Premier League appearances for United last season, creating one chance in the process.

The youngster had a pass accuracy of 79% and a shot accuracy of 33%, and won eight headers and eight tackles.

While Celtic would be signing McNair to play in defence, his versatility would only be an asset for the Bhoys.

Liverpool's Jordon Ibe in action against Manchester United's James Weir and Paddy McNair

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