Paddy McNair's message to Tony Pulis as his Middlesbrough woes continue
Middlesbrough midfielder Paddy McNair has reiterated his opinion that he is most effective as a central midfielder - despite Tony Pulis playing him elsewhere.
McNair has struggled to hold down a regular spot in Pulis' squad since sealing a £5million move from Sunderland in the summer, with the Boro boss preferring other options over the Northern Irish international.
And when he has featured for Middlesbrough this term, the ex-Manchester United youngster has often been utilised as a makeshift full-back.
His international boss, however, has deployed McNair in his preferred role in the centre of the park - and the player himself has reminded -Pulis that this is where he feels he can shine for both club and country.
“I think that’s my best position,” he said.
“I felt I played well and helped the team win and that’s always the main thing.
“I love playing for Northern Ireland and I thought I played well over both games and I felt quite fit as well considering the club situation.
“I just have to keep my head down at club level and keep working away."
McNair started in his preferred position against Estonia - but was guilty of missing a golden chance when he headed over the bar from point-blank range.
And the 23-year-old joked that the groundsman were to blame for his miss.
“He made the pitch too firm,” he laughed.
“It’s just one of them, where I probably thought I’d scored before I headed it, but hopefully I’ll get the next one that comes my way.”