Ryan Manning is from Galway and is a professional footballer with Swansea City and the Republic of Ireland. He made his senior international debut in November 2020 against Bulgaria in the UEFA Nations League.
Was it always a dream of yours to be a professional soccer player?
Yeah, I always wanted to be a professional footballer ever since I was a kid. As soon as I could walk, I was kicking a football. It’s every young kid’s dream to play for their country, so it was a special moment for me and my family.
When did you turn pro and what did that mean to you?
I played professionally in the League of Ireland when I was 16 and it was surreal to be getting paid to do what I love.
What was it like to get a call up to the national team and make your debut?
It’s every young kid’s dream to play for their country, so it was a special moment for me and my family.
Who has been your biggest influence in your career so far?
Definitely my parents. They drove me all over the country as a kid to all my training sessions and matches and are still there supporting me now every step of the way, so they are definitely my biggest influences.
Who is the toughest opponent you have come up against?
The toughest team I’ve played against would be Man City in the FA Cup and the toughest player I’ve played against would probably be Wayne Rooney. Even though he was a bit older then, you could see just how talented and good he is and how good he must’ve been back in his day.
What is the best stadium you have played at to date?
I’d have to say St James’s Park in Newcastle. It’s a huge stadium and the atmosphere is unbelievable.
Which soccer players did you admire growing up?
I was a Man United fan growing up, so a lot of the Man United players, but probably Cristiano Ronaldo in particular.
What is the best advice you would give to an up-and-coming soccer player?
You’re never the finished article, always keep practising to get better.
What is the best thing about being a professional footballer?
Getting paid to do what I love every day and playing in front of thousands of fans every week.
Do you miss Galway?
I definitely miss Galway; I miss my friends and family as well as Supermac’s and chicken fillet rolls.
Have you any hobbies?
I love playing golf. I try to play it at every chance I get but the football schedule does make it tough. The plan is to get down to scratch one day!
What are your ambitions going forward?
To play in the Premier League and play with Ireland at a major tournament.
What is the standout moment of your career so far?
My international debut and my first goal in the championship for Queens Park Rangers years ago.