Middlesbrough's McManus is vital to Wheater - Strachan
McManus has captained Celtic in European competition
Middlesbrough boss Gordon Strachan believes Stephen McManus has had a positive impact on centre-back David Wheater since his January move.
McManus, 27, and Wheater, 23, have struck up a partnership at the heart of the Boro defence and Strachan sees McManus's presence as a key factor.
"McManus is not much older than Wheater but he has had so much experience," Strachan told BBC Tees.
"He loves to be a leader, and I think David is enjoying that."
McManus is currently on-loan at the Riverside until the end of the season, although Boro would be keen to make the move permanent.
Boro continue to chase down a play-off place in the Championship, with a four-point gap between the club and Swansea in sixth.
And their pursuit of the promotion places continues with the trip to West Bromwich Albion whose place in the Premier League is already secured.
Strachan is convinced the key to the Baggies' success has been a settled line-up under Tony Mowbray, and then his successor Roberto Di Matteo.
"They've been together a wee while, the know each other, they've kept that squad together when it's gone up and down,"
"There's a nucleus there and and they've added good players like Graham Dorrans to the team and he's been magnificent this year, and there's good players there in [Chris] Brunt, [Robert] Koren, [Roman] and Bednar.
"They've got a lot of goals, they can get goals from midfield, which means you don't have to rely on two or three strikers."
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