The initial suggestion that McManus had done serious damage was confirmed by her club and the defender will be forced to sit out the remainder of the season as she focuses on her rehab following surgery on her right ankle.
A consistent fixture in City's side
Whether partnered at centre-back with Steph Houghton or out as a right back covering for Lucy Bronze, McManus has been a consistent fixture in the City side. Following strong displays last year, McManus was drafted into Marianne Spacey’s U23’s for the La Manga and Nordic tournaments earlier this year.
With the departure of Kathleen Radtke, McManus fell into a natural pairing with skipper Houghton and with an early season injury to new arrival and probable rival Megan Campbell, McManus became one of the first names on the City team sheet. Although Campbell’s more familiar role is out at left-back, Nick Cushing was rotating the backline during pre-season and Campbell made herself known to the City faithful as a smart and strong central defender.
Whether or not Cushing planned on using his new signing as a centre or full back became a moot point when she picked up a serious injury before the season had gotten underway and the back four (like much of the team) remained unchanged during the first-half of the season.
With no one vying for her starting spot, McManus went from strength to strength, consistent starts feeding into consistent performances, her defensive aptitude and eye for a well-timed tackle providing reliable shielding for Karen Bardsley.
McManus remaining positive
Following her surgery McManus took to social media to thank the well-wishers and assure people she’s staying positive despite the set-back and is “ready to smash the rehab”. The injury is a mirror of the one suffered but defensive midfielder Keira Walsh earlier this year (and was the second time Walsh injured her ankle in such a way) and McManus is looking to the 18-year-old as inspiration. Since the restart, Walsh, like Campbell has returned to first-team action and her teammate will be looking to emulate her recovery.
Expected to be out until late November the 23-year-old will be unable to help her team on the pitch as they look to claim their first WSL title nor will she feature in any of City’s group games in their maiden season of UWCL football.
Having proved herself as an astute and dependable centre back, the future looks bright for McManus who is well on course to cause Mark Sampson some headaches when she’s back from injury.