Attacking midfielder Steve McManaman was a player blessed with pace, skill and the ability to be unpredictable. At the height of his career McManaman was ranked as one of the finest midfielders in England and had developed a strong reputation in Europe. Known to embarrass defences with his mazy runs, which too often lack the finishing touch they deserve.
In February 1990 Kenny Dalglish gave Steve McManaman his 1st professional contract.
However it wasn’t until the 91- 92 season that he became a regular first team player. Having been thrown in the deep end after his mentor John Barnes suffered a career threatening achilles tendon injury. That season Ian Rush described him as the most promising young player at Liverpool.
He continued to develop a reputation as one of English football’s best emerging young wingers.
In 94–95 he won the League Cup, scoring twice in a 2–1 win over Bolton. Many fans called it ‘The McManaman Final’.
He received a glowing tribute from Sir Stanley Matthews;
“He reminds me of me when I was playing … I wish there are more dribblers like him.”
McManaman had also been noted for his versatility in his free role, switching from right to left wings, and his ability to play in central midfield, behind the front pair, or as a forward. Liverpool were playing some of the most aesthetically pleasing attacking football at the time in England. In the 95-96 season he achieved a massive 25 assists!!
McManaman was also said to have been one of only a handful of so-called ‘talismanic’ players – believed to have the charisma to lift supporters from their seats each time they got the ball.
He was described as being ‘virtually unstoppable’ at times.
At the time everyone in the Premiership knew that if you stop McManaman, you stopped Liverpool – such was his influence.
For me the low point of his career has to be losing to Man Utd in the 1996 FA Cup Final. The low point being wearing those famous cream coloured Armani suits. Way to shed the ‘Spice Boys’ tag.
In January 1999 Real Madrid offered McManaman £60,000 a week with a £2 million as a signing on fee. Benefits of being a free agent having not been able to agree a new contract with Liverpool. Making him become the best paid British footballer. He declined to pose in a Real Madrid shirt when the deal went through out of respect for Liverpool.