Manchester City fans undoubtedly remember Shaun Wright-Phillips, the diminutive winger (and wingback under Kevin Keegan) who brought an electricity to the pitch matched by few others in a sky blue kit. He joined the club as a 17-year old in 1999 and experienced the rollercoaster of the promotion/relegation over his first three years in Manchester. He was an influential part of the team that earned City’s most recent promotion to the Premier League, registering 8 goals across 35 appearances in the then-First Division (now Championship). His success only continued from there as Wright-Phillips won four consecutive club Young Player of the Year awards from 2000 to 2003, collectively compiling 31 goals (all competitions) in six years with City.
After a three season stint at Chelsea, the Englishman returned to Manchester in 2008 and was a fixture in the matchday eighteen for two seasons. His playing time began to dwindle in 2010 as the ownership takeover coincided with a new generation of talented, young players and Wright-Phillips left for QPR soon after, but did put the ball in the back of the net 16 more times before doing so.
His most memorable moment for City came in the 2004 Manchester Derby, when he scored an absolutely outrageous goal in a 4-1 victory (2:50 mark).
Wright-Phillips’ son, D’Margio, is now coming up through the ranks of Manchester City’s academy and appears to have a very promising future. We were lucky enough to have the chance to pose a few questions to the senior Wright Phillips, speaking exclusively to AmericanGambler.com, prior to the FA Cup final.
Now that you’re watching your son go through City’s youth ranks, what has changed from your time there at the club and your senior team call up?
The kids are spoiled! I think it’s hard for any kid playing in the top six Premier League teams to keep grounded, but so long as they have got a good family behind them then that keeps them humble and it shouldn’t be a problem. The improvement is drastic and the improvement with the training ground, the facilities, the food and the way they take care of you is only of benefit to the players. The hard part is just keeping the kids grounded away from the game, because of social media and the money, and it can be difficult for some kids.
This City side has a wealth of talent. If there’s one player you could play with from this current crop, who would it be and why?
I think I would have to say David Silva, because as a winger you don’t want to have to dribble to get past your man every time, you want to be able to run into space and run in behind and he’s the master. He’s the man that you don’t have to shout for the ball from – he just knows you’re going and knows how to get the ball to you. As a creative midfielder who either wants to score or get an assist, I think that he would have played a pivotal role in my game.
You scored a number of great goals in a City shirt, but what goal or goals stand out in your mind as the most memorable?
Everyone always expects me to say the goal in the derby, but it’s my very first City goal, which was against Millwall at The Den. It was a really weird situation because Millwall fans had been fighting so both sets of fans had away game bans so we had no City fans at The Den. So my first ever goal was in front of no City fans so that always stands out for me!
Here’s some bonus content from Shaun Wright-Phillips that you may find at other outlets, but we’d rather you read it here at Bitter & Blue!
On City’s mentality and never giving up
SWP - I’ve been watching City all year and you can see that they never ever give up and they always fight until the bitter end, City have always done that for the last few years. The quick response after falling behind with Aguero scoring, completely set the pace and the tone, and gave the belief to the players.
For me Aguero’s equaliser completely turned the game on its head, because the longer the game went on at 1-0, you’d start thinking it would more likely turn out as a draw or a loss, but the players built on the momentum of the quick response. You know that City are going to create chances and they all went in, and obviously Mahrez’s goal came at the perfect time.
On where this City side ranks in Premier League history
SWP - They’re up there for sure and I’d definitely say they’re in the top three Premier League sides in history, but it’s always hard with an ever-evolving game. Every time we see a good new manager come into the game, it keeps evolving but where the game is right now, City are certainly the best team in the game. Obviously the Invincibles and the United Treble-winning side were very good but football was a very different game back then.
On next year’s Premier League race
SWP - I just don’t think that it’s going to be a two-horse-race next year, and I feel that the other big teams like Arsenal, Chelsea, United and Spurs know what they have to do now and if they want to be up there in the running, they have to win the big games. Whether people like it or not, there’s always spending money but it’s about spending the right money and I think that City seem to have an edge on that.
Players that City have bought, play the City way – they add to City, they make them a better team. People will say that Mahrez hasn’t played a lot this year, but if you look sat his stats, he’s still scored as many goals as other Premier League players. They have a way of knowing that when they come on, they’re going to do what they need to do to make an impact, and that runs the whole way through the team. Sane is a prime example as well, and he knows the challenge and how tough it is to get in that team.
On who would be the perfect signing for City
SWP - Van Dijk! In seriousness though, De Ligt from Ajax would be a great move, and considering he’s only 19, he’s a top class player, and very intelligent for his age. With the way Ajax play passing football, he would 100% naturally slot in to the City side.
On what City need to do to improve in Champions League
SWP - This year was hard as Spurs played very well in that game, but I think it was also harsh on City as we had chances to put the game away and didn’t take them. We all know what football is like – if you don’t take your chances against the big teams, you’ll get punished. In the first leg we had the penalty and a few other chances that we missed and end up losing 1-0 and it was the away leg that killed City.
Hopefully you’re inspired to go back and enjoy the highlights of Wright-Phillips’ career, because he had some truly great moments! And keep an eye out for D’Margio as he fights for his spot in Manchester City’s history alongside his father, thanks for reading!