Tony Pulis blasts Northern Ireland boss and 'doesn't care' about his views of Middlesbrough man

Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis has hit out at Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill - claiming he 'doesn't care' about his views on Paddy McNair.

Thursday, 11th October 2018, 4:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th October 2018, 4:08 pm
Tony Pulis has hit out at the Northern Ireland manager
Tony Pulis has hit out at the Northern Ireland manager

O'Neill is keen to utilise the former Sunderland man as a right-back, having done so in a recent friendly against Israel.

And the 49-year-old had suggested that McNair, traditionally a central midfielder, would be wise to try and adapt his position at club level as he bids for more regular first team football.

The summer signing is yet to make a league start for Boro amid intense competition in the centre of the park, and O'Neill feels that a switch to full-back could see his game time increase.

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But Pulis sharply dismissed any talk of a positional switch at the Riverside Stadium and said the Northern Ireland manager's views make 'no difference' him.

"I don’t really care what Michael O’Neil says,” said Pulis, speaking to the Teesside Gazette.

“Paddy’s a player at our football club.

“He’s been unfortunate in respect that he’s a good player but players have been playing well in front of him.

“He’s a great lad around the place and we have him for 99.9% of the season, Michael has him for that other percentage and whatever he makes of it, he makes of it. It makes no difference to me.”

McNair, meanwhile, is happy to adapt positions in order to secure international football.

But the ex-Manchester United youngster has revealed that he feels his versatility works against him and that he would prefer to feature in the engine room.

"It’s great to hear Michael say he will always find a place for me but I do think it works against me sometimes playing in a variety of positions because it means I don’t have one position nailed down,” he said.

“But if he wants me to play right-back, centre-back or midfield, I’m happy to do so.”

“I enjoy playing right-back.

“If you asked me, my preferred position would be midfield, but with this new playing style I’m able to get forward from right-back and get involved with the attacking play, and that’s what I love to do.”

McNair is currently with the Northern Ireland squad ahead of their games against Austria (12 October) and Bosnia (15 October) - where he could line-up against Middlesbrough teammate Mo Besic.