Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate has challenged midfielder Paddy McNair to score 10 or more goals this season.
OneBoro reported that Woodgate has set the 24-year-old the target of getting his goals tally for the 2019/20 campaign into double figures.
McNair notched his first goal of the season last Saturday in the 1-1 draw against Millwall and, according to OneBoro, his manager feels that the Northern Ireland international is capable of getting to the 10-goal mark by the season’s end.
If McNair is to fulfil his manager’s wish and end the season with a double-figure goals tally, he will need to show far greater scoring form than what he has displayed so far in his career.
He had failed to find the net in 28 appearances for Middlesbrough prior to his goal against the Lions at the weekend, although he is playing far more frequently this term.
He has already had 446 minutes of league football in 2019/20, compared to the 734 he got under Tony Pulis in all of last season, and he needs only two more starts to match the seven he was given in the Championship in 2018/19. [via WhoScored.com]
However, Woodgate may have looked at the midfielder’s scoring record at Sunderland two years ago and felt that 10 goals for this season is a realistic target.
In the Black Cats’ relegation campaign of 2017/18, McNair scored five goals in 16 Championship appearances over 1,069 minutes, one goal per 213.8 minutes.
Sunderland scored 52 goals in 46 games that season. Middlesbrough have five goals from their first five Championship games, an even lower average goal return than the 49 they managed in 46 games last season and inferior of their north-east neighbours’ total from 2017/18.
While McNair showed two seasons ago that he can be prolific from defensive midfield – only three players scored more for Sunderland in that campaign – he is currently playing for a team who haven’t been scoring freely this season or last.
McNair has been far more likely to have a sight of goal this season than last – he has already averaged 2.4 shots per game in the early weeks of the current campaign, having had just 0.3 per game in 2018/19. [via WhoScored.com]
With the 24-year-old showing more enterprise and set to be given far more gametime this season compared to last, and considering his goal figures at Sunderland two years ago, 10 goals might not be wildly optimistic a goal for Woodgate to set.
Middlesbrough fans, can you see McNair scoring 10 goals or more this season? Let us know what you think by commenting below!
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