Neil Warnock wants a team of Paddy McNairs by the sound of his recent words when he spoke to the Northern Echo.
The Northern Ireland international was deployed in a more advanced role to great effect in Middlesbrough’s much needed 2-0 win over Sheffield United on Tuesday evening.
Warnock leant on the players he trusts ahead of the scrutinised fixture with the likes of Sol Bamba in central defence and McNair further forward delivering for the 72-year-old.
Martin Payero and James Lea Siliki have been brought in to bolster attacking midfield areas but Warnock believes that their best option is McNair.
Warnock explained: “He’s got goals in him, I just wish he could play two positions at once because I think he’s a great centre-half.
“I asked him to do another role against Sheffield United.
“We let Jonny Howson deal with them and pushed Paddy on to be more around the strikers.
“I thought that worked better. He can do that, and there’s a goal in him, isn’t there?”
In 2019/20 and 2020/21 McNair registered eight goals and ten assists, not bad for a player who was brought in to shore up the defence.
With a winnable trip to Hull City on the horizon Warnock will likely keep his successful formula intact with a victory set to edge Boro close to the play-off places.
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McNair is more than capable of playing as a box to box or advanced central midfielder, if Boro had better options at centre back the 26-year-old could be utilised further up the pitch more often.
It is a bit of statement to the Middlesbrough board who have invested a lot of money in the additions of James Lea Siliki and Martin Payero, demonstrating that Warnock can get better results with the tools that were already at his disposal.
The Tigers are winless since the opening day and therefore it is another crunch match for Warnock, anything but a victory will be deemed a failure by the Boro hierarchy at the MKM Stadium.