How influential Paddy McNair has been for Middlesbrough this season - according to the stats

Paddy McNair is set to serve a three-game suspension following his red card at Swansea on Saturday – but just how big of a loss will the midfielder be?

Monday, 16th December 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Monday, 16th December 2019, 4:45 pm
Paddy McNair has started 21 of Middlesbrough's 22 league games this season.
Paddy McNair has started 21 of Middlesbrough's 22 league games this season.

Many would argue McNair has been Boro’s best player this season, and the Northern Ireland international has been directly involved in six Championship goals since August (three goals and three assists).

That’s more than any of Boro’s other central midfielders combined, with Marcus Tavernier, George Saville, Lewis Wing and Adam Clayton contributing with four goals and one assist between them.

There’s no doubt then that McNair’s absence against Stoke, Huddersfield and West Brom will be significant, yet a closer look at the stats suggest others are also capable.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In terms of creativity, it’s Saville who has manufactured the most chances (1.42 per game) on average this season.

That’s more than McNair (0.9), Tavernier (0.78), Wing (0.78) and Clayton (0.71).

McNair has also been praised for his ability to drive forward with the ball which allows his side to progress up the pitch.

The stats back that up too, and when it comes to progressive runs with the ball the 24-year-old has an average of 1.45 per game.

That’s predictably higher than Clayton, Wing and Saville, yet it’s Tavernier who comes out on top in this department with an average of 1.84.

Midfielders are also judged on their passing stats, and that is where Wing and Clayton, who have been deployed in the holding role this season, fair better.

On average, Wing has attempted the most passes out of Boro’s midfielders this season (38.6 per game) with an accuracy of 76.8 per cent.

Clayton’s passing accuracy is higher at 82.3 per cent and the 30-year-old has attempted an average of 38.2 passes per game in the Championship this campaign.

In comparison, McNair has averaged 32.5 passes in the league this season with an accuracy of 80.5 per cent.

As someone who has also slotted into defence for Jonathan Woodgate’s side, McNair’s versatility and all round game has proved to be a huge asset.

And while some stats suggest Boro’s other midfielders can step up, McNair will still be a big loss over the festive period.