Northern Ireland v San Marino

Northern Ireland v San Marino

Northern Ireland midfielder Paddy McNair insists it was an easy decision for him to leave Manchester United as he prepares to face San Marino in a World Cup qualifier on Saturday.

Northern Ireland midfielder Paddy McNair insists it was an easy decision for him to leave Manchester United as he prepares to face San Marino in a World Cup qualifier on Saturday.

The 21-year-old ended his five-year association with the club to join Sunderland after playing just 27 times.

While United boss Jose Mourinho wanted McNair to leave on a loan deal, the former Ballyclare Colts player forced through a permanent move to the Black Cats.

McNair explained: 'I went on the pre-season tour and after I spoke to Mourinho and he said to me he would like me to go out on loan.'

I had a think about it when I was out on the pre-season tour and even a little bit when I was at the Euros, I never wanted to go on loan. I was adamant I wanted to go on a permanent move. I spoke to Mourinho for a couple of weeks and basically persuaded him to let me go on a permanent deal.'I see too many players go out on loan that don't play.

You're never their player; it's a loan. I just wanted to go to Sunderland and play in the Premier League every week and that was my thinking behind it. I've no regrets.'McNair also hit out at suggestions he is a defender after being used in that position by former United boss Louis van Gaal.

'I'm not a defender; I've never been a defender. I filled in there a few times. Van Gaal played me there and I was happy to play there for him (but) in the back of mind I always thought, 'No, this isn't my position, I know I'm a midfielder'.

'I don't play in defence any more, I've not played in defence in ages. I read people still calling me a defender; but I play in midfield for club and country.'

Northern Ireland face San Marino at Windsor Park on Saturday before taking on Germany at the HDI-Arena Hannover on Tuesday.