Northern Ireland midfielder Paddy McNair admits he had no reservations about ending his Manchester United career this summer in favour of regular first-team football at Sunderland.
The 21-year-old joined the Black Cats along with fellow United academy graduate Donald Love for a combined £5.5million in August as McNair ended a five-year stay at Old Trafford having played 27 times for the club.
New boss Jose Mourinho took McNair on a pre-season tour of Asia and wanted him only to leave on loan, but the Northern Ireland international was not interested in the thought of a temporary departure.
“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,” McNair said.
“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.”
And McNair insists he did not have to wrestle much with the call of whether to leave the 20 times champions of England for a move to the north east.
Asked if it was a difficult decision, he replied: “No, it wasn’t. My heart was set on going on a permanent (deal) and it’s just what I wanted to do. I know I won’t regret it because I know at that time I really wanted to do it. I’m glad I did it.”
McNair’s outings for United’s senior team all came under Louis van Gaal and the bulk of those saw him operate in a defensive capacity.
That is not where either McNair or his current boss David Moyes see his future, though, with the Scot claiming his youngster was “very much an attacking midfielder” following a recent brace in the EFL Cup against QPR.
“I’m not a defender; I’ve never been a defender. I filled in there a few times. I read people still calling me a defender; but I play in midfield for club and country.”
McNair has switched his focus from the club scene to Northern Ireland this week ahead of fixtures with San Marino and Germany in their World Cup qualifying campaign.
Boss Michael O’Neill, who is without injured pair Craig Cathcart and Liam Boyce, has called up Callum Morris and Paul Paton into his squad.