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Top flight dream fuels Middlesbrough defender McManus

Stephen McManus
McManus has captained Celtic in European competition

Middlesbrough defender Stephen McManus says a potential return to the Premier League was a major incentive behind his decision to join the club.

McManus, 27, swapped the intensity of the Old Firm with Celtic for the pressure of battling for promotion to English football's top division.

"It's a big club," McManus told BBC Tees of his switch to the Riverside.

"We should be in the Premier League and speaking to the lads, that's their aim. I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Moving to the Teessiders ends a six-and-a-half year association with Celtic for McManus, who was the Parkhead club's youngest captain since European Cup winner Billy McNeill.

It also reunites the centre-half with his former boss Gordon Strachan, who handed him a first-team opportunity at Celtic and oversaw his development in the Bhoys' team.

And having sampled a taste of the Championship as a substitute against Bristol City on Saturday, the Lanark-born defender admitted he is excited by the task ahead.

"It's completely different from Celtic," he added.

"It's a competitive league, though, with a lot of really good players in it and I'm looking forward to it."



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