Louis van Gaal believes Paddy McNair could become Manchester United’s first-choice right-back for the next 10 years.
The Red Devils’ boss has been impressed with the 19-year-old’s development this season and feels the youngster is now capable of playing at centre-back or full-back.
McNair has often played in central defence for Manchester United since making his senior debut in September, but was deployed at right-back against Cambridge United during Tuesday night’s FA Cup fourth round replay and was arguably the best player on the pitch.
Van Gaal: McNair could become United's right-back
Subsequently, Van Gaal hinted that McNair could have a future as Manchester United’s first-choice right-back, ahead of Rafael and Antonio Valencia.
"It is not only Paddy McNair who has impressed with his development, as I have given a lot of chances to younger players,” Van Gaal told MUTV, according to the Express.
"But Paddy McNair has developed himself very well, not only as a central defender but now we are giving him the chance to develop as a full-back and he did it very well.
"He has done it already in the second team and has done it now at a higher level in the first-team.
"Maybe he shall be the right full-back of Manchester United for the next 10 years, you never know. He has the chance."
McNair could start against West Ham
McNair could now retain his place in Manchester United’s starting line-up for Sunday’s trip to West Ham.
The Northern Ireland Under-21 international played 23 minutes of United’s 3-1 victory over Leicester City last weekend - his first Premier League appearance since December’s 0-0 draw against Tottenham - and could get the nod over both Rafael and Valencia.
Rafael is now back in action after missing United’s previous three league fixtures with a fractured cheekbone, while Valencia has performed well in the Brazilian’s absence but could be relegated to the bench as a direct result of McNair’s impressive display against Cambridge.
McNair has signed new deal
McNair’s contract was due to his expire at the end of the season, but Van Gaal confirmed this week that the teenager has put pen-to-paper on a new deal.
As well as being able to play in central defence or at right-back, former Manchester United captain Gary Neville believes McNair is also capable of playing in midfield after watching him closely for the Under-21 side in a recent match against Liverpool.
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