Despite only joining Manchester United in the summer, defender Abbie McManus has cemented her place in Casey Stoney’s side, with a string of impressive passionate displays that have placed her as a ‘fans’ favourite’ at the club, despite her rather unfavourable choice of previous clubs.
McManus has previously described being able to play for United as a ‘dream come true’ as the lifelong Reds fan and her family can now finally wear the right colours. Rather remarkably, the Lioness spent 12 years playing for the other side of Manchester before her move.
Prestwich-born McManus grew up playing football with her brother Scott, who like her, is a defender for Southern League Premier Central side Coalville Town. She impressed from a young age gaining the most improved player award in 2008 for Bury Girls, before she made the switch to Manchester City who at the time played in the FA Women’s Premier League North. She helped the club earn promotion to the National Premier Division in the 2011/2012 season. After a short spell at Sheffield FC, she returned to City as they entered the FA Women’s Super League in 2014, making her second debut at the Etihad Stadium against Everton. The defender gained many team accolades but failed to gain regular appearances and was often played out of position.
Whilst with The Citizens, she gained her first senior England call-up having previously featured at Under-23 level. She was drafted into the squad following the withdrawal of her then City teammate Steph Houghton for the 2018 SheBelieves Cup before making her debut in the opening game from the bench in the 14th minute against France. In a rather humorous story, she has explained of how she learnt of her first-ever Lioness call-up after a phone call from Phil Neville whilst ‘shopping in an ASDA supermarket for eggs.’
She holds one FA Women’s Super League, two Women’s FA Cup and three FA Women’s Continental League Cup medals to her name. After over a decade with Manchester City, she left the club on 17 May last year with a promise of regular first team football in her preferred position at Manchester United.
The defender has become an integral part of the United squad with her strong tackles and ability to play the ball out of defence with an eye for a perfect pass. Despite being at the club for such a short time, she is one of the favourites in the squad as she effortlessly interacts with fans following matches and is always happy to talk and inspire the next generation. One thing that is noticeable with McManus is her humble nature and laidback approach. The central defender in her early days spent time working at a Butchers while at Manchester City and she can also still be found helping out over the busy Christmas period.
One thing that is for certain is that she is happy to now be able to focus all her time on football. Manchester United have given her the platform to do so as she now ‘finally feels at home’. I am sure that I can speak on behalf of all Manchester United fans in saying that we are glad to have her home too.