I did manage to resolve the issues. The shudder was due to worn shock absorbers which resulted in uneven tread wear on my tires. So I basically replaced the shocks and put on a new set of tires. The gear problem was due to worn Clutch and pressure plate. I took my car to Ford and had them do the clutch replacement. It was a costly procedure, but at the end of the day my car felt brand new. It had more power and the clutch pedal is now light and soft.
With regards to your cars issue, I would say first try drain and replace the clutch master cylinder fluid. Another thing you could try which helped me a lot in the past is just to spray some Q20 by the fork above the gearbox that controls your clutch activation. Sometimes dirt builds up there causing it to become stiff.