The initiative, which looks to engage hard to reach teenagers via the Foundation’s Street Reds project, saw the Northern Irish defender taking part in a workshop based on assertiveness. McNair, who made his United debut back in September, also spent time answering questions about his own experience moving between the Under 21’s and the Manchester United first team.
Speaking after the session, McNair said “I’m very confident and assertive on the football pitch but outside of football I’m a fairly quiet person. It helps me, as well as the students, when I do this sort of work. Talking to a room full of teenagers requires a different kind of confidence and I’m glad the Foundation is helping young people to develop useful life skills.”
Miche, a pupil from The Albion Academy, was surprised when the group were joined by the United starlet. He said “When Paddy came in I was pretty nervous but when he sat down and we started talking I realised he was a good guy and really nice to us all. The more we got to speak with him, the more confident we all were.”
He added “Today was great because we had the chance to talk about life skills and meet Paddy. It was much better than just staying at school like a normal school day.”
Dean Ellul, Foundation Youth Engagement Co-ordinator, stressed the reason for introducing the workshops into the Street Reds project. He explained “Youth engagement involves regular consultations with young people to try and raise their aspirations. We want to help educate young people on life skills and experiences they’ll eventually come into contact with on a day to day basis.”
He added “We’re using football as a tool and a lot of young people would be excited about coming to Old Trafford today, but this time there’s also the opportunity to be part of the workshop. When these participants realise that the coaches delivering are no different to them it helps to break down the barriers.”