When solid defensive players like Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic parted from Manchester United, there were doubts of how the Red Devils would replace them and cope in the future.
The answer? Not well. Their issues at the back have been exposed on plenty of occasions, but the three departures have made way for new, younger, fresher players to make their name. One of which being the Northern Irish Paddy McNair. But are Manchester United fans are expecting too much, too soon?
He may have been able to break through to the first team, but that stint was brief. Throughout this season he has only made twelve appearances, but is this enough to truly judge a player on? No. We have seen a glimpse of the starlet, who has done well when called upon, but is yet to reach his peak.
United’s injury woes have contributed to the rise of Paddy McNair this season. Chris Smalling, Phi Jones and Marcos Rojo have been no strangers to picking up knocks, which is why McNair had to be brought in. As the players have returned from injury – and of course gotten injured again – McNair has dropped back down to the bench.
On his brief experience in the Premier League, McNair has earned himself a new contract under Louis Van Gaal. The contract will see him remain at Manchester United until June 2017, but there is an option for another year. Clearly Van Gaal sees not only worth in him, but considers the 20-year-old as an ideal prospect for future campaigns.
Comparing players to those that have already succeeded can prove to be a recipe for disaster. Expecting Paddy McNair to be Nemanja Vidic on his debut is ludicrous. You cannot become a world class centre back over night.
But McNair will prove his importance. It won’t be this season, with just two games left, but he will be given more opportunity next year. Youth is important at Manchester United, and this player needs to be given his time to shine.