Paddy McNair will be hoping to impress at this summer’s Euro finals – possibly under the watchful eye of Jose Mourinho.
With Mourinho poised to replace Louis van Gaal at Manchester United, the former Chelsea and Real Madrid is set to become McNair’s new manager at Old Trafford.
McNair got his big break with United under sacked Van Gaal, with the Dutchman handing the 21-year-old his debut as centre back almost two years ago.
Now McNair is preparing for the arrival of the self-professed ‘Special One’, and he hopes this summer’s Euros provide a platform to impress the incoming boss ahead of next season.
“He’s a world class manager. He’s worked at massive clubs and worked with some of the best players in the world,” McNair said.
“Obviously, I’ll be looking to impress. If I’m playing (in France) hopefully he can watch me and make his opinion of me there. Pre-season will be another chance to impress.
“My aim is to train well and try and impress the new manager. Hopefully he can also give me tips to make me a better player.
“If he likes you as a player he likes you. If he doesn’t he doesn’t. I’ll try my hardest to impress. That will be my aim.”
McNair is in line to earn his eighth cap in Friday night’s friendly with Belarus at Windsor Park.
The fixture is Northern Ireland’s farewell game before they travel to Slovakia for their final warm-up game ahead of the Euros.
The versatile defender – who has also played in midfield for Northern Ireland – is relishing the prospect of international football following a frustrating season with United.
McNair only made nine appearances last term under Van Gaal.
“I haven’t played as much as I’d have liked,” he said.
“I think I played something like 10 games in the end. I had a few injuries and it was a bit stop start for me.
“I did say to the manager in January time that I’d like to go out on loan, but he wanted me to stay in the squad. Obviously, I didn’t play as many games as I would have liked.
“It’s just one of those things. I’m just looking forward to next season now and take it from there.”
McNair is now relishing Northern Ireland’s first-ever appearance at a European Championship, and admits he doesn’t care what position Michael O’Neill plays him in over in France.
“I really enjoy playing in midfield,” he said.
“I’ve played there all my life really until I was 18. Personally, I think it’s my best position. When I’m in there, I feel comfortable. I do enjoy it.
“There is competition in midfield, but I think in any position in this team, there is competition. Midfield isn’t really any different.”