May 26, 2024

Maresca: Understand & Adapt To The Challenge

Leicester City: McNair could be Coady’s ideal partner

Leicester City have already signed Conor Coady this summer, but another centre-back could be set to arrive in Middlesbrough’s Paddy McNair.

Leicester City ramped up their preparations for the new Championship campaign this week with the signing of Callum Doyle on loan from Manchester City, but new head coach Enzo Maresca appears to be on the lookout for even more recruits.

Who are Leicester City signing?

The Foxes have so far brought in Doyle, and Harry Winks since being relegated from the Premier League in May, just seven years on from winning the competition.

Middlesbrough make Paddy McNair decision as Celtic and West Ham linked -  Teesside Live


Coady and Winks arrived from Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur respectively for a combined fee of £17.5m, helping to offset the departures of James Maddison, Youri Tielemans and Caglar Soyuncu among others.

The Foxes have been tipped to bring in another centre-back to potentially partner Coady, and TEAMtalk suggests Leicester are one of seven teams keeping tabs on Middlesbrough’s Paddy McNair.

Middlesbrough are supposedly open to offers for the Northern Ireland international, who is on wages of around £20,000 a week at the Riverside Stadium, according to Capology.

What position does Paddy McNair play in?

McNair has shown his versatility across the past six seasons in the Championship with Sunderland and for his current side, the past five of those with the latter, having played at centre-back in central midfield and at full-back.

Indeed, as per WhoScored, McNair was used 28 times in the heart of defence last season, twice on the right and seven times in central midfield, making him a very versatile option for Maresca should he arrive.

As Boro boss Michael Carrick pointed out last season when praising McNair’s “terrific” displays, it is at centre-back he prefers playing.

The 28-year-old can be trusted to do a job wherever he is fielded, with veteran Neil Warnock hailing him as the best player he has managed, while predicting he would be playing “at the very top” again one day.


It has not quite worked out that way just yet, but McNair is still clearly a man in demand, with promoted Premier League trio Luton Town, Sheffield United and Burnley also said to be interested.

McNair is particularly strong when it comes to his ability to move the ball forward from the back. As per FBref, he ranks in the top 4% of centre-backs for progressive carries (1.69 per 90) across the eight divisions most alike the Championship, and he is among the top 2% for progressive passes received.

Where the former Manchester United player let himself down last season was in terms of clearances per 90 (2.61) and interceptions per 90 (0.80), placing him among the bottom 4% and bottom 7% of centre-backs respectively.

Looking at Coady’s figures from last season on loan at Everton, he averaged 3.78 clearances per 90 in the Premier League – only four team-mates could better that – and 0.60 interceptions.


Middlesbrough make Paddy McNair decision as Celtic and West Ham linked -  Teesside Live

Should they be paired together, it is likely that McNair will be the one tasked with taking the ball forward in a flexible formation – Pep Guardiola protege, Maresca is in charge, after all – while Coady will be more of a pure defender.

Either way, it will be one of the more experienced centre-back partnerships in the Championship should Leicester pull off the deal, and one with plenty of promise.



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