Paddy McNair has revealed he had a career-defining meeting with Jose Mourinho before deciding to leave Manchester United.
The 21-year-old defender left Old Trafford for Sunderland as he was desperately looking for a new challenge. But McNair would soon sustain a cruciate ligament injury that ruled him out for the rest of the season.
McNair has told the BBC Mourinho initially wanted him to let go on a temporary basis: “I went in and seen Jose and I just said if you don’t let me go on a permanent I’m going to stay here.
“That’s how strongly I felt about it. At the time it’s what I wanted so I’ve no regrets.”
When pressed how Mourinho reacted to his request to leave permanently, McNair claims the Special One respected his decision. He added: “I think he quite liked the way I was just straight up and I just said I wanted to leave and not go on loan.
“I think he respected that and I said to him ‘look I’ve been here since I was 12-years-old, the club can at least let me do what I want to do you know?’
“I spoke to Ed Woodward and said the same to him. I was refusing to go out on loan basically and I just wanted a new challenge and off I went.”
McNair was introduced to Manchester United first-team action by Louis van Gaal before he made the switch to the northeast. The Red Devils, who have defenders Chris Smalling and Phil Jones nursing injuries currently, are next in action at home to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.