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Melbourne sign McManaman ahead of AFC Champions League return

Melbourne: Melbourne Victory have bolstered their squad ahead of the resumption of the 2020 AFC Champions League with the capture of FA Cup-winning winger Callum McManaman, the A-League club announced on Tuesday.

McManaman, who was named Man of the Match in Wigan Athletic’s 1-0 win over Manchester City in the 2013 FA Cup final, has signed a two-year contract with Grant Brebner’s side and joins Melbourne from Luton Town.

“Melbourne Victory is such a big club in Australia with a proud history and, after speaking with Grant, I knew this was a great opportunity for my career,” McManaman said.

“I’m really looking forward to getting to Melbourne, I can't wait to meet my new teammates and putting in the hard work over the pre-season.

“As I said, this is a proud club with a huge supporter base and we all want to help get Victory back up the table. It’s going to take plenty of hard work, but I can’t wait to get started under Grant.”

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Melbourne are due to return to action in the AFC Champions League next month, where they will play in Group E against FC Seoul of Korea Republic, Chinese Super League side Beijing FC and Thailand’s Chiangrai United.

The A-League side are currently in third place in the group, level on three points with FC Seoul and Beijing FC following their 1-0 win over Chiangrai in February. They also suffered a 1-0 reversal at the hands of FC Seoul.

McManaman brings significant experience to the Victory squad, having spent seven seasons with Wigan Athletic as well as playing for West Bromich Albion, Sunderland and Luton. He also represented England at the 2011 FIFA U20 World Cup.

“We are extremely pleased to announce Callum will be joining Melbourne Victory for the 2020/21 season,” Brebner said.

“Callum is a very experienced player who has performed on the biggest stage in the world’s toughest club competition, the English Premier League.

“He’s a wonderful addition to our playing group. Callum works hard both ways, is a proven goal scorer and, at only 29 years of age, has plenty of good football ahead of him.

“There’s no question Callum is a very talented player but what he also brings is leadership and a hunger for success. He will play an important role in driving the standards of our playing group on and off the pitch.”

Photo: Luton Town FC

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