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  • Stephen McManus: I want to help young players become top Celts

    Stephen McManus: I want to help young players become top Celts

    By: Paul Cuddihy on 15 Jan, 2019 15:31

  • STEPHEN McManus is delighted to have returned to his football home, taking up a new role as Celtic’s Under-18s' coach. It’s another step on his ongoing football journey that began at the club’s Youth Academy and saw him go on to make 203 appearances for the team he’s always supported, become club captain and win three league titles, two Scottish Cups and two League Cups.

    Even while he was in the middle of his own playing career, he’d already set the wheels in motion for what would happen once that drew to an end, beginning his coaching badges in his mid-20s.

    And for the past four years, he’s been involved in the coaching set-up at Motherwell, being in charge of the U18s as well as being part of Steve Robinson’s backroom staff.

    Those experiences have led to his return to Paradise and while naturally delighted to be back at Celtic, the 36-year-old is also focused on the job in hand – to help produce more first-team players for Celtic.

    Speaking to Celtic TV, Stephen McManus said: “I’m glad to get started and give something back to the club that has given me so much in my career.

    “Even being back at Barrowfield for training this morning was great, and I’ve got so many happy memories of being here.

    “I grew up supporting the club, so to get the opportunity to come back in a coaching capacity was always going to be the way forward for me. I’m really happy to get it over the line and really thankful to everyone at the club. Obviously Brendan played a big part in it, along with Chris McCart, so I’m delighted to be back.”

    McManus’ own successful playing career, which also saw him score in a UEFA Champions League group-stage victory over AC Milan, will provide a good example to the young players coming through the Academy of what can be achieved through talent, hard work and dedication.

    And the new Under-18s' coach also cited the likes of James Forrest, Callum McGregor and Kieran Tierney as great role models for the young Celts.

    “It’s difficult for any young player trying to make a very good living in the game,” he said, “but the grounding I had here was the reason I ended up having a successful playing career, so I’m thankful for everybody who was part of that journey and I’m now trying to give that back to young players today.

    “They can relate to you because you’ve not long finished playing, but also they can see what you’ve achieved, and there’s no reason why some of the young talented individuals we’ve got at the club just now can’t make that same journey.

    “They just have to look at the first-team players such as Callum McGregor, James Forrest and Kieran Tierney who have come through the Academy and are now top players who could grace any football pitch in Europe.

    “My remit will be to try and help the club generate as many top young players as we possibly can. I’m one of the lucky ones who’s been associated with the club that I grew up supporting.

    “I was lucky to play here for a minute, never mind over 200 games. I was lucky enough to captain the club, I was lucky enough to work with some really proper people and I was brought up with that mentality and that’s the reason that I had the career I did. So I’m just looking to give something back.”

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