Women's Sport: Abbie McManus "always wanted" to play at childhood club United

Manchester United Women v Brighton and Hove Albion Women - FA Women's Continental League Cup: Quarter-Final

Abbie McManus has become a reliable member of Casey Stoney’s Manchester United side having made the move from Manchester City this season.

Yet, her dream of becoming a professional footballer almost died when Leigh Wood, a former Manchester City manager, told her she was not good enough to play for City.

When Nick Cushing then played her in her unfavoured position of full-back she thought she would never be able to secure a place in the first team side.

Enter Casey Stoney, head coach of the newly promoted Manchester United side looking to make their mark on the WSL in their first season. Stoney approached McManus with the offer of signing for her childhood club and also play in her preferred position of centre-half… McManus could not say no.

"It’s the club I have supported my whole life. It’s massive for me and my family,” she told The FA.

“Going from City to United definitely kept them happy because they can finally wear red instead of blue!

“The nail in the coffin for me to move was because Casey [Stoney] wanted me to play as a centre-half and that’s where I’ve always wanted to play."

McManus also says she was worried that her position as a full-back for Manchester City could influence her Lionesses selection and was keen to establish herself as a centre-half at United.

"I was worried that people were looking at me playing in a full-back position for City at the time and assuming that’s where I would be playing for England. I wanted to make clear that centre-half was my position," she added.

Still working at the butchers

McManus has spoken often of her time working at the butchers when she was not on the pitch in her early days at City.

"On my days off I was in the market nine 'til five at the butcher's and if we were on a short day, I would go and clear up afterwards,"

It seems that this work ethic is something McManus carries still and she still returns to the butchers when she can, although being an established player for both United and the Lionesses this could be proving more difficult.

“Even now, I go back and work in the butchers over the Christmas period. It keeps you grounded and humble and helps me not to forget where I’ve come from.

“I am happy I am here at Manchester United now where I can just concentrate on my football, but my journey has definitely done me a favour rather than hinder me.

“It sounds daft, but I’d never want to change the route I had. It definitely made me want to work harder and prove myself more."

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