Paddy McNair can be Man United's right-back for 10 years - Louis van Gaal
Paddy McNair can be Manchester United's regular right-back for the next 10 years, manager Louis van Gaal says.
The 19-year-old played as a central midfielder while coming through United's youth teams, but shifted to the backline as a central defender when he debuted for the senior team in September.
He made his full debut at right-back against Cambridge on Tuesday and further opened Van Gaal's eyes to his future at Old Trafford.
The manager told the club's official website: "It is not only Paddy McNair who has impressed with his development, as I have given a lot of chances to younger players. 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 [Under-21s] 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 said his experience at centre-back helped him transition to full-back in United's 3-0 win against Cambridge in the FA Cup fourth round replay.
"I enjoyed getting down the right flank," he said. "I actually enjoy getting forward. It was a bit different. I played there for the Under-21s and I played there for the first time [in the senior team] against Yeovil in the second half. It was good to play there.
"I've played in a three at the back, so it's kind of similar. It is similar to centre-back, but you've just got a bit more running forward to do, a lot more sprinting and overlapping. A lot of the time I was in their 18-yard box; when you're a centre-back you don't really get over the halfway line that much.
"As a centre-back, you always want your right-back to cover you. When I was playing there I thought, 'When I'm playing centre-back, I want my right-back to be here,' so that's where I went."