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Paddy McNair earns Northern Ireland call-up

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Paddy McNair has earned his first call-up to the Northern Ireland national team after a number of impressive displays for Manchester United.

The 19-year-old was an anonymous character at the start of the season and didn't even have his own Wikipedia page. A number of injuries forced Louis van Gaal to hand him his debut against West Ham United.

Jonny Evans, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo have all suffered afflictions, allowing McNair to play three games for the Red Devils. And it appears McNair has done enough to impress Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill.

Northern Ireland have got off to a sensational start in their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, taking three wins from as many games against Greece, the Faroe Islands and Hungary. With McNair's club team-mate and compatriot Evans struggling with an ankle injury, O'Neill is happy to be able to call upon the exciting youngster.

Hugely impressive

"I've been hugely impressed with Paddy - he's come into a difficult situation at Manchester United and there is a lot of media attention," O'Neill told the Irish FA's official website.

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"He's played in difficult circumstances, with the defence a bit makeshift at times and it's difficult for a young player to come into that.

"The manager has come in and spent a lot of money so it is encouraging to see the likes of Paddy given a chance.

"He's played in difficult circumstances, with the defence a bit makeshift at times and it's difficult for a young player to come into that.

"But he's acquitted himself very well, he's around the Manchester United first team and I'm looking forward to having him in the squad."

"He has trained with us for a full week for the first time and he is doing great."

O'Neill is not the only manager to have been impressed by the young centre-back. Despite having little other option but to play him, Van Gaal has previously stated that he has been delighted with the form of the younger.

Van Gaal delighted

He told MUTV last month: "He knows what he is doing and why he is doing it. He has trained with us for a full week for the first time and he is doing great. I'm very pleased with him."

Van Gaal has been so impressed with McNair that it was reported that he had told Old Trafford officials to give him a hefty pay rise and secure his long-term future. Goal reported that Manchester United were willing to offer him a deal worth 10 times his current salary.

McNair only has 12 months remaining on his current deal, which is reported to be worth around £2,000-a-week. Tyler Blackett is also reported to be negotiating a bumper pay rise.

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Topics:
Manchester United
Premier League
Football
Internationals

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