‘Mourinho wanted me to go on loan’ – Paddy McNair reveals he forced permanent Manchester United exit
The Northern Ireland international claims he defied the Portuguese during transfer talks ahead of switching to Sunderland last summer
Paddy McNair has revealed that he defied the wishes of Jose Mourinho in order to force through a move away from Manchester United.
A product of the Red Devils’ academy system, having joined their youth ranks as a teenager, the Northern Ireland international was handed a senior debut in September 2014.
He would make a total of 18 appearances in that breakthrough campaign, before slipping down the pecking order and out of favour the following season.
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With game time limited and a new manager inheriting the reins, McNair found himself at a career crossroads in the summer of 2016.
Mourinho was eager for him to remain at Old Trafford, with the option put to the 21-year-old to go out on loan.
McNair was, however, eager to find competitive minutes in a settled environment and made his Portuguese coach aware that only a permanent deal would be considered – with a £5.5 million transfer eventually taking him to Sunderland.
“He wanted me to go on loan and I went in to see Jose and just said ‘look, if you don’t let me go on a permanent, I’m just going to stay here’,” McNair told BBC Sport.
“That’s how strongly I thought about it. At the time, it’s what I wanted so I’ve got no regrets. I think he quite liked how I was straight up. I said I wanted to leave, that I didn’t want to go on loan.
“I think he respected that. I told him that I’d been here since I was 12-years-old and club could at least let me do what I want to do.
“I spoke to Ed Woodward and said the same to him. I was refusing to go on loan basically. I just wanted a new challenge and off I went.”
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Unfortunately for McNair, his move to the Stadium of Light has not worked out as planned.
Having quickly established himself under David Moyes, a cruciate knee ligament injury suffered in November brought his 2016-17 campaign to an unfortunate conclusion.
He is now being forced to watch on from the sidelines as the Black Cats endeavour to lift themselves off the foot of the Premier League table and clear of relegation danger.