Former FA Cup winner can inspire Melbourne Victory turnaround

2021 is turning into a nightmare season for Melbourne Victory as the club sits bottom of the A-League. Worryingly, climbing off the foot of the table won’t be easily done, either, as the Boys in Blue haven’t managed to record a win in the last 450 minutes of football. It’s a dire situation but one that does happen every now and again to football teams, regardless of how good they are. Indeed, barren runs are unavoidable in the professional game but the Victory can take solace in the fact that there is no relegation from the A-League.

 

Had that not been the case, there would be a genuine reason to push the panic button at this stage, given that recent results have sent the club into freefall. All the same, Melbourne Victory’s board won’t appreciate the lack of success on the pitch, and changes will be made irrespective of the fact that they will still be playing in Australia’s top-flight next season, should this run of form not improve.

 

There is reason to believe it will, though, and that’s down to the arrival of Callum McManaman, who joined the Victory on a two-year deal. In just ten A-League starts, the winger has scored three times and it was his goal against top-of-the-table Central Coast Mariners that earned the Boys in Blue a point at the end of March.

 

Holding the high-flying Mariners, who are among the favorites in A-League betting to win the title this season, to a hard-fought draw was a telling result and perhaps a sign of things to come, now that former FA Cup-winner McManaman calls the state of Victoria his new home. At just 29 years old, McManaman is now at the peak of his career and, theoretically, he should be the most effective he’s ever been. The fact that he is averaging a goal every three games from midfield goes a long way in confirming that to be the case.  Furthermore, his assist tally should begin to record impressive numbers as well now that he is ten games into his A-League debut season.
 

As for the way he plays, the winger’s direct style will cause defenses in the A-League a great deal of trouble, just like it did in the Premier League. Indeed, McManaman can boast of some of the biggest scalps in the English top-flight during his playing days at Wigan with his most impressive performance for the Tics occurring during their FA Cup win at Wembley in 2013. The 29-year-old ran the Man City backline into the ground as he weaved his wing wizardry on a warm late spring day in the capital. Despite not netting the winner, McManaman was named man of the match, which is probably the pinnacle of any English boy’s dream growing up. To be the best player on the pitch at Wembley when winning the FA Cup is not something many people get to experience.

 

McManaman now faces a different task altogether down under as he tries to get his new team to discover that winning feeling again. With his vast experience in the toughest league in the world, that should be something that proves to be more than achievable.