Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

MAC BOOST; Defender Cancels Holiday to Go to la Manga: Let's Get Back Up!

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

MAC BOOST; Defender Cancels Holiday to Go to la Manga: Let's Get Back Up!

Article excerpt

Byline: ERIC PAYLOR

STEPHEN McManus has made a telling commitment to Boro by signing up for the club's training week in La Manga. The rugged Celtic centre-back, on loan at Boro since January, flies out with the rest of the squad tomorrow. McManus' loan spell does not officially end until the end of June, and he has cancelled a holiday in New York with his wife in order to join Boro's training week in Spain. It's a magnificent gesture by the Scottish international, and a clear indication that Gordon Strachan is on strong ground as he tries to make the Mc- Manus switch permanent this summer. Strachan said: "Steve and his wife had organised a holiday in New York. But they have decided to do it another time. "We already knew what a strong character Stephen was and we are pleased to have him with us." McManus joins a La Manga squad which is largely missing only those players who are on international duty or contracted elsewhere on loan. One other obvious absentee is Chris Riggott, who has turned down the chance to extend his contract with Boro and is leaving the club. Strachan said: "Chris phoned me the other night and said that he had decided to leave.

"Chris feels that he needs different scenery and wants to move in a different direction. "It's disappointing for the club because he is an experienced senior player. But I understand his reasons, and I wish him the best of luck." New Boro signing Andy Halliday will be part of the party, with Strachan saying: "I liked what I saw when we got him here early in the season. "He is hungry, he's not shy and he's got a strong personality. I'm sure he'll settle in here." Halliday will be the only new face in the squad next week, although "There's a fantastic Premiership pedigree here. The target is to get it back as quickly as possible. …

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