Steven McManaman – born 11 February 1972 – is a retired footballer who played as a midfielder and winger.
Having spent his playing career at two of World football’s most successful clubs of the 20th century, Liverpool and Real Madrid, as well as a spell at Manchester City, McManaman is the most decorated English footballer to have played at any foreign club in terms of trophies won overseas.
After his retirement as a player in 2005, he became a football pundit for Setanta Sports and was an associate producer on the film Goal! 2. He was an ESPN analyst for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and currently works as an English based in-game analyst alongside Ian Darke for ESPN’s US and UK coverage of the Premier League, FA Cup, Major League Soccer and Euro 2012.
In spite of the side only winning two trophies during his time with Liverpool, McManaman’s achievements at the club were exceptional for a player in a side often labelled negatively. McManaman finished alongside Nick Barmby as joint runner up to Giggs in the PFA Young Player of the Year awards in 1992, was named in the PFA Team of the Year for 1996–97 and also made the five man shortlist for PFA Player of the Year for three seasons from 1995–96 to 1997–98, with the PFA website describing him as one of the most gifted players of his generation.
For a time McManaman held the record for most consecutive Premier League appearances as an ever present at Liverpool for four seasons including a club record for most appearances, and at the time of leaving the Premiership had the second highest ratio of Premier League assists per game, with 112 assists in 272 appearances, with a total of 142 assists for the club; an average of one assist per two and a half games. As of 2011–12, McManaman holds the 14th position on the Premiership’s All Time Assists charts.Until 2011, McManaman held the record for greatest number of assists in Liverpool history, ahead of Steven Gerrard, who has since overtaken him. McManaman is also ranked 5th on the Premier League all-time assists charts for number of games it took to hit 100 assists, and also in terms of being the 5th youngest player to hit 100 assists in Premier League history, with only Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham above him in the list.
On 5 September 2006, Steve McManaman was named #22 in the official Liverpool website’s “100 Players Who Shook The Kop” list, in which Jamie Carragher described McManaman as “the best midfield player in the country for three or four years” running. Both Rob Jones and Robbie Fowler gave two interviews in 2012–13 in which they stated McManaman was the greatest player they ever played alongside, with Fowler saying: “I’ve played with many, many great players. Paul Gascoigne was fantastic and I could sit here all day and talk about Liverpool players – John Barnes, Ian Rush, Jan Molby, Ronnie Whelan and Steven Gerrard, who is an unbelievable player. He would probably be my number two. The best player I’ve ever played with is Steve McManaman … he really was that good.” In 2013, McManaman was named #20 in the official Liverpool website’s second “100 Players Who Shook the Kop” list, rising up by two positions.
When Mark Lawrenson and Jim Beglin named McManaman in their team of the 1990s, they said that most managers in the league used the same tactic of marking McManaman to stop Liverpool and whilst it was a tremendous compliment to McManaman, the opposition could stop Liverpool because the tactical system of 3-5-2 or 3-4-1-2 was too dependent on McManaman and would fail if McManaman was off form, or if the team was not complemented by a quality defence (players who could play both wingback and centre half to cope with onslaughts), or the presence of a steely defensive midfielder, which was what happened with the team of that time. Nevertheless, McManaman was voted in on the official Liverpool FC website as the club’s midfielder of the 1990s, was named by Ruud Gullit as one of his top two players from the entire Premier League era, and despite Liverpool fans’ disappointment over the nature of how McManaman conducted his departure, it is believed that many fans still regard McManaman (along with Fowler) as the two players who carried Liverpool through the 1990s.
In 2012, as part of the FA Premier League 20 Seasons Awards, Steve McManaman was named on the shortlist for the award of best right midfielder, which was eventually won by Cristiano Ronaldo