Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock has heaped praise on Northern Ireland international Paddy McNair and has predicted him to go to the very top of the game.
The 72-year-old has managed many clubs over the years and had some incredibly talented players, including some Premier League stars.
But he’s reserved special words for McNair, who has become a key figure in the Boro side at center-back usually alongside youngster Dael Fry.
Warnock has seemingly no end of superlatives when describing the centre back, and has made a bold prediction as to how far the 25-year-old can go in his career.
“I can’t think of one better, I really can’t,” Warnock told the Northern Echo when comparing McNair to others he’s managed.
“I keep thinking, but I can’t come up with anyone. I’ve had goalscorers – Taarabt and Moses and people like that, individuals who can do a bit of magic.
“But as a player, as a pro, as a person, I’ve never had a better specimen than this.
“The really exciting thing is that he’ll get better than this too. I’ll be surprised in the next two or three years if he’s not playing in Europe at the very top. He’s the best I’ve ever seen.”
McNair is a graduate of the Manchester United academy having moved over from Northern Ireland in 2011, and debuted as a 19-year-old in the Premier League in 2014, with Louis van Gaal giving him his breakthrough.
He made a £3.5 million move to Sunderland in 2016 whilst they were still in the Premier League, but after back-to-back relegations, Boro took a punt on him for a fee that could end up reaching £5 million, despite only playing 24 games for the Black Cats in two years.
A sporadic player in his first season, McNair became a regular in the 2019/20 season, and since Warnock’s arrival he’s been arguably Boro’s best player.
Who knows if Warnock is just trying to give McNair a bit more confidence, but from the way he speaks about the Northern Irishman he genuinely believes he’s a top tier talent.
McNair has already gone for transfer fees worth around £8.5 million in his career so far, and several managers have rated him highly.
After floating between defence and midfield, McNair has seemingly nailed down a position and if he continues to progress in this Boro team, a Premier League club, or a top team from abroad will surely come calling.