6. Stephen McManus
|Name Stephen McManus|
|Squad number 6|
|Born 10th September, 1982|
|Int Caps 26|
|Int Goals 2|
When former Scotland internationalist Stephen McManus signalled his intention to return north of the border upon the conclusion of his contract at Middlesbrough in 2013, Stuart McCall moved swiftly to entice the defender to Fir Park.
As might be expected when a player of Stephen’s calibre and experience became available interest in McManus wasn’t restricted solely to Motherwell with Dundee Utd and Hibernian both keen on securing his services, indeed it was only after a trial at Easter Road that Stephen elected to join ‘Well on a one year deal.
Beginning his career with Celtic McManus enjoyed a trophy laden seven years in the Hoops first team winning three league titles, two Scottish Cups and two Scottish League Cups. During that time he would become the club captain and make over 200 League and Cup appearances.
In early 2010, having fallen out of favour somewhat with Tony Mowbray, McManus linked up with former gaffer Gordon Strachan on a loan deal at Middlesbrough, a move that would eventually become permanent when the Teesside club stumped up £1.5m in July 2010.
In February 2012 Stephen moved on loan for a short spell at Bristol City before completing the campaign back at Riverside Stadium.
Curiously history continued to repeat itself with McManus falling out of favour with Tony Mowbray, who had ironically followed in the footsteps of Gordon Strachan as Middlesbrough manager, with season 2012’13 bringing a further loan spell at Ashton Gate.
The Lanark born defender made his bow in claret and amber in the Europa League at Fir Park in August 2013 when the Steelmen faced Russians Kuban Krasnodar and would go on to play 42 league and cup outings for the Steelmen in his first season at the club.
McManus proved himself to be something of a threat at the other end of the park also during that opening campaign netting four goals, three of which were winners, including an 88th minute goal which sealed a remarkable late comeback against Partick Thistle.
Upon securing second place, one of Stuart McCall’s first actions was to re-sign the former Scotland star on a new two year deal.
It was a difficult second season for both player and club but all came good in the end with McManus netting Motherwell’s vital second goal in the 3-1 play-off victory against Rangers at Ibrox.
Along with other senior figures at the club such as Steven Hammell, Keith Lasley, Stephen Pearson and Scott McDonald McManus has a massive role to play in guiding the more youthful squad put in place by Ian Baraclough through the 2015’16 season.
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