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Scout Report: Donald Love And Paddy McNair

Who are Donald Love and Paddy McNair?

Michael Regan/Getty Images
Full Names

Donald Alistair Love & Patrick James Coleman McNair. Yes, those are real names.

Date & Places Of Birth

Donald was born on the 2nd of December 1994 in Rochdale, England.

Paddy was born on the 27th of April 1995 in Ballyclare, Northern Ireland.

Christ, I feel old.

Playing History

Well, neither man are what you would call particularly experienced, though they are both just 21 and having seen a number of managers pass through at Old Trafford in recent years it appears their time there is finally over.

Donald is the less experienced of the pair. He made his professional debut less than a year ago, playing for Wigan in a loan spell which saw him make seven appearances for the Latics. His Manchester United debut actually came against us, when he replaced Matteo Darmian early on the game, a fixture which we of course won 2-1 at the Stadium of Light. He then made his first start under Louis Van Gaal just days later in a loss away at FC Midtjylland in the Europa League.

Paddy McNair was given his chance at Old Trafford at the start of the 2014/2015 largely due to the misfortune of others, coming into their side on the back of a severe injury crisis which forced Van Gaal into looking at his youth players. And, to his credit, McNair impressed initially and was given praise by his manager and other players, including Wayne Rooney.

McNair played a fair amount of football that season, becoming an integral part of Van Gaal's squad, filling in either at right back or centre half depending where he was needed. Van Gaal tipped McNair to have a bright future in the game, noting that he could become 'the next Gary Neville'.

Unfortunately for McNair, the form of Chris Smalling and Daley Blind meant his playing time was restricted last season and, as a result, he made just three league starts.

McNair is an international footballer and has made eleven appearances for Northern Ireland, forming part of their squad which took part at this summer's European Championships.

With Jose Mourinho now in charge - and with Manchester United spending big money on recruitment this summer - neither McNair or Love have a future at Old Trafford at the Red Devils will be keen to cash in on both.

Physically, What Are They Like?

Paddy McNair stands at just six feet, though is broad and can hold his own physically. He's fairly quick and is good in the air.

Donald Love has the stature of a typical modern full-back - he's not huge but not small either, is quick, and is strong for his size.

What Has Been Said?

Well, the news that broke regarding a transfer agreement for the two was fairly conclusive - both players have had bids accepted for them and are due on Sunderland today in order to complete medical examinations.

The fee for Donald Love is rumoured to be around one million pounds, whilst McNair is expected to cost us around five times that amount.

It seems that. regardless of what is happening with Lamine Kone, both players will be signing for Sunderland imminently providing their medicals go without a hitch.

How Did They Fare Last Season?

Well, Love finally made his breakthrough in professional football last season and was given the experience of playing in the Premier League, Football League and European competition. For him, he needs to be going to a club that will give him the playing time he so desperately needs.

Similarly, McNair needs a change. He's been given some great opportunities for Manchester United but when Mourinho is spending twenty-odd million on other young central defenders it is pretty fair to say that players like McNair are no longer required at Old Trafford. With Northern Ireland now looking to qualify for the next World Cup, McNair needs to be playing regularly if he is to become an integral part of Michael O'Neill's defence, and that will be something which should sway his decision to leave Manchester for a club where he'll be afforded more game time.

Where Would They Fit Into David Moyes' Squad?

It's no secret that Sunderland need to sign a right back. Billy Jones just doesn't cut it and behind him we have Jack Rodwell playing out of position and Josh Robson, a promising youngster that would benefit more from being out on loan at a Football League club this season. Considering the fact he has very little professional experience, Love would be competition for Jones in that position.

Similarly, Paddy McNair can also play at right back and it may well be that David Moyes sees him as a fit in that role whilst also providing cover at centre half. It's pretty evident that John O'Shea is probably entering his final year before retiring and, as such, we should be looking to replace him now for long term gain.

Injury History

Donald Love has had just one injury since starting his professional career, a torn hamstring which kept him out for three weeks towards the end of last season.


It was unfortunate for Love, with the injury coming just a week after his senior debut.

Paddy McNair's last issue was a rib injury picked up in training in October of last year.


All in all, there is nothing really of note in there. You wouldn't expect to be seeing signs of wear and tear from two 21-year old lads.

Video Footage

Though he didn't particularly stand out in the game at the Stadium of Light last season, Donald Love was fairly solid on his Manchester United debut against us and was tasked with containing Wahbi Khazri for the majority of the game.

This video shows Paddy McNair putting a good shift in again perhaps one of the best forwards in the league, Romelu Lukaku. His reading of the game and quick interception of the ball is what stands out particularly.


Well, the news of Sunderland signing the pair probably broke at the wrong time, with most fans massively concerned about the future of Lamine Kone. What I feel is important to remember, however, is that neither player is being signed to replace the void that could be left in the event of Lamine leaving.

With or without Kone, we need to sign defenders, and for a combined fee of around six million pounds I guess I can see sense in investing in potential when the British market is notoriously over-priced usually.

What the Kone saga does teach us is that investing in players with good potential for smaller sums now could set us up to move them on in the future for inflated fees. McNair and Love are clearly talented or they wouldn't be Manchester United players, and I suppose for both they now need to establish themselves elsewhere if they are to have good careers in the top flight.

All in all, I'm not completely against it, and would feel much better about both signing if they are to compliment what we have already and not to replace outgoing defenders like Kone, for example.

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