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Dublin: 9°C Friday 7 May 2021

Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair had an incredibly memorable night in London

The former Manchester United player delivered a superb performance for Sunderland.

Image: Richard Sellers

LET GO BY Manchester United back in August, Paddy McNair had a difficult start to his Sunderland career when he scored a decisive own goal on his first appearance in a 2-1 loss to Manchester City.

But, the 21-year-old Northern Ireland international has played himself into David Moyes’ future plans after a stellar night in the League Cup on Wednesday.

The Black Cats were in London to face QPR but were behind on the hour mark when Sandro gave the hosts the lead.

But then McNair intervened and dramatically changed the course of the game.

With 20 minutes left, he popped up in the area after a neat one-two with Duncan Watmore before sliding inside the near post for his first senior goal.

And not long after, he grabbed a second.


Matt Ingram could only palm Didier Ndong’s shot into a central zone in front of goal and McNair raced onto the loose ball before driving it home. McNair had started the move with an astute pass to find Ndong on the right wing.

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Normally used as a defender by Louis van Gaal during his time at Old Trafford, McNair was brought to Manchester as an attacking midfielder, with his comfort on the ball leading to first-team opportunities under the possession-obsessed Dutchman.

Last night, Moyes used him as a central midfielder (Michael O’Neill does likewise with Northern Ireland) and it worked a treat.

Queens Park Rangers v Sunderland - EFL Cup - Third Round - Loftus Road Source: John Walton

“There’s a wee bit of a misconception with Paddy because he’s naturally an attacking midfielder”, Moyes said afterwards.

“He was a No10 as a boy but, as he grew, he dropped back. Maybe he’ll end up a centre-half or midfielder, but he strikes the ball cleanly and is a good finisher. Even tonight he played alongside [Jan] Kirchhoff, but I think he’s better as an attacking midfielder.”

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Eoin O'Callaghan

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