Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill explains decision not to call-up Patrick McNair

by Sam Peoples

Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill has explained the logic behind his decision not to call Manchester United’s Paddy McNair up for international duty.

O’Neill’s side have important Euro 2016 qualifiers against the Faroe Islands and Greece coming up and after his impressive debut, there were calls for McNair to be drafted into the senior set-up with Northern Ireland despite the squad being announced prior to his debut with United.

However, O’Neill doesn’t want to rush McNair into international duty and will only call him up when he feels the time is right.

“I want to make sure that when we bring Paddy in, it is right for Paddy as much as it’s right for us,” he said.

“He has played one game for United which is fantastic, and he showed great composure, but it’s a big jump and we have enough quality in defence at the moment not to put that pressure on Paddy.

“What I would like to see him do is continue his development at United and for him to stay in and around the first team there.”

Even if he had not have selected his squad, O’Neill insisted McNair would not have been called up.

An international call-up so soon after his senior debut would have made it a magnificent month for McNair but although he might be slightly disappointed not to be lining up for his country, he at least knows he is now in contention.

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