This is why ex-Sunderland player Paddy McNair has a key role to play at Middlesbrough under Jonathan Woodgate
Paddy McNair has been identified as a key player by Jonathan Woodgate, with the versatile international bringing drive and balance to the Middlesbrough midfield.
McNair has previously played right wing-back for Boro but has returned to his natural central midfield role this season under Woodgate and the Boro boss has been impressed.
Woodgate said: “Paddy’s got that drive from midfield, and it’s important you’ve got that left sider on your left-hand side.
“It brings more balance.
“You can bring the ball out better and play more passes – if you’ve got a right sider on that side, you’re limited to how many passes you can play.
“George [Friend] also brings us that balance. George is a great character.
“That’s exactly what I want, to only train for three days and then play is magnificent.”
Middlesbrough have a free weekend as a result of the international break, with the Teessiders in a relegation battle, third-bottom in the Championship.