Sunderland boss reacts to international call-ups and hints at Preston recall for Chelsea loanee

Chris Coleman is happy for Paddy McNair to join up with the Northern Ireland squad next week, providing he comes through the clash with Preston North End on Saturday afternoon.

Friday, 16th March 2018, 2:00 pm
Updated Friday, 16th March 2018, 2:05 pm
McNair is closing in on a first team return

McNair has not featured since the 3-3 draw with Middlesbrough due to a groin problem, the latest setback in a stop-start season for the young midfielder.

Northern Ireland face South Korea in Belfast during the international break and after watching him train this week, former Wales boss Coleman expects him to travel.

He said: "International football, I can't stand it!

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"Paddy is the one really. There's nothing we can do to stop him. He's trained well this week, hopefully he'll play some part tomorrow and if he comes through that then there's nothing we can do.

"We can't say we're in a relegation fight and that we want to keep him, if he plays then it will be Ireland's call.

"I hope he does go because it means he has come through his fitness battle and played a part for us.

"With these players, it's what we always used to say at Wales, we've got to send the players back in the same condition as they arrived. That's how you build trust and relationships.

"I don't need to tell you how important they are to us."

Joel Asoro, Ovie Ejaria and Jake Clarke-Salter have all earned call-ups to their respective age groups, and the latter looks set to return to the Sunderland XI on Saturday afternoon.

The Chelsea loanee has now served his three-game suspension for a challenge on Middlesbrough's Adama Traore and with Tyias Browning out for the season, Coleman is short of defensive options.

Whether the Black Cats revert to a back three seemingly depends on the fitness of John O'Shea, who has not trained this week.

Coleman said: "We need to see how John is today. He has not trained all week, he is training today, and we need to see how he copes with that.

"With Jake, in our situation, we need fighters and he has got plenty of that.

"If he was to play, he does add value to us.

"But we'll have to wait and see how John is, really. I didn't think he would make it last Saturday, to be honest, but he had an injection and played through it.

"We need to see how he reacts today."