Northern Ireland boss gives his verdict after Sunderland reject Paddy McNair bid
Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill says that Paddy McNair is a 'Premier League' player.
McNair was Northern Ireland's man of the match as they drew 0-0 with Panama and O'Neill, who was considered for managerial role on Wearside after the departure of Simon Grayson, said the 23-year-old is 'determined' to play in the top tier again.
Sunderland have rejected a £2 million bid from a Premier League club, believed to be Brighton. The club's new regime believe he is worth far more than that despite injury troubles that have seen the former Manchester United midfielder miss large chunks of the last two seasons.
McNair roared back from those problems to finish the season with four goals in five games.
Brighton's Paddy McNair interest is a test Sunderland's new regime are determined to passO'Neill told the Belfast Telegraph: "I hope his club situation sorts itself out. I know what he is capable of."
"His running power and quality is evident to see, and he is so determined to get back to the Premier League and hopefully he gets that chance.
"Paddy was class tonight. Paddy McNair is a Premier League player," he added.
"The reason he isn't is because of his injury. He joined Sunderland when they were in the Premier League. He then had a bad injury and Sunderland were relegated.
"But you've seen the quality in the last five or six games of the season. He scored four or five goals at the end of last season."
Why Jack Ross has genuine cause to be optimistic on the eve of his Sunderland tenureNew Sunderland owner Stewart Donald is eager to hold talks with members of the playing squad individually before decisions on their future are taken.
The club have rejected a number of bids for their best young talent as well as knocking back the initial move for McNair.