By Nick Skoric
Ryan Manning could have been back in Ireland studying physiotherapy at university had it not been for the appointment of current QPR boss Ian Holloway.
The Galwegian had been through four different Rs managers (Harry Redknapp, Chris Ramsey, Neil Warnock and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink) before he was finally given his first team debut by Holloway after sitting on the fringes of the Rangers first team following his move to Loftus Road in January 2015.
His parents made sure that he kept his head in the books just in case his dreams of becoming a professional football player fell apart, leaving secondary school with an impressive set of grades.
Back on the pitch, Manning let his feet do the talking in a youth game that was attended by the new QPR gaffer. From there, he made his maiden appearance for the Rs in the 2-1 win over Wolves on 31 December 2016.
Fast forward to Monday and the 21-year-old continues to make a name for himself in the Championship after both opening and closing the scoring in QPR’s emphatic 4-1 victory over Norwich City.
The midfielder inadvertently put the ball into his own net to give Norwich the lead before Massimo Luongo levelled matters as the Aussie international gears up for the World Cup in Russia this summer.
Matt Smith put QPR ahead just after the break before youngster Eberchi Eze made it 3-1 on the hour mark.
Manning sealed the three points with his (second) goal of the game to leave Rangers once again in no man’s land in the Championship.
Safely clear of the relegation zone with a 16-point buffer from the bottom three but too far adrift from the play-off places to even contemplate promotion.
Can Manning continue his free scoring form after two goals in three games when the Rs travel up to Yorkshire for their match with Hull City on Saturday?
It is a far cry from his early years in Galway when he would play football in the back garden until the dark of the night with his neighbour Greg Cunningham who now plays for Preston North End.
The childhood friends will reunite on 14 April when Preston come to town.
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