Northern Ireland defender Paddy McNair has revealed new Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has already been in touch to wish him well ahead of Euro 2016.
Mourinho was appointed to the Old Trafford helm only two weeks ago after succeeding Dutchman Louis van Gaal, who handed the versatile 21-year-old McNair his senior debut in September 2014.
That was one of 27 appearances McNair has made for his club and his new Portuguese boss has already contacted him to introduce himself and pass on his support ahead of the Euros.
“He sent me a text message wishing me good luck for the tournament - that was nice of him,” McNair said.
“I’m sure he’ll be watching and I’ll be trying my best and hopefully he likes what he sees.”
United’s current manager will not be the only decorated boss keeping tabs on the progress of Michael O’Neill’s side across The Channel.
Sir Alex Ferguson, who vacated his position at Old Trafford before McNair’s senior bow, will be in Nice on Sunday to see how some of his former academy prospects fare against Poland.
Roy Carroll, Jonny Evans, Corry Evans, Craig Cathcart, Luke McCullough, Oliver Norwood and McNair all represented the club at various levels during Ferguson’s long reign.
“After the FA Cup final I was getting in the lift and he wished me good luck for the tournament and said he’d be there watching,” McNair said.
McNair could start in front of Ferguson at the Stade de Nice, either in a right wing-back role or in central midfield, where he is more comfortable.
Club colleague Marcus Rashford is unlikely to be deployed from the off when England’s campaign begins against Russia on Saturday, although McNair admits the rise of his team-mate has been remarkable to witness at close quarters.
“He’s a very good player,” he added.
“He came in at the end of season and it was breathtaking, in a way, how well he adapted, the goals he scored.
“You see him in training, he’s got a lot of ability and I think he will be a top player.”