Football Insights - Shaun Wright-Phillips
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Football Insights - Shaun Wright-Phillips

With England in action in the Nations League over the last few weeks and the transfer window now open, former England, Man City and Chelsea star Shaun Wright-Phillips spoke exclusively to Genting Casino about England's performances during the international break, Chelsea and what their transfer window could look like and of course the big signing so far, Erling Haaland. Read Shaun's full exclusive interview below.


What have you made of the international break for England?

It hasn't been what I expected from England. Especially the way that the players have played this season. I expected England to come out of the traps flying against most of the teams and be high-scoring in games but we haven't really seen that and the team has struggled against most of the teams.


Do you think England can win the World Cup this year? If not England, who?

England can definitely win the World Cup, it's just a matter of them putting it together. The fans have seen the players that Gareth Southgate has at his disposal and the talent that has been on display in the Premier League, we see it week in, week out so the squad just need to transform that free-flowing, exciting and attacking play into international games because there's not many defenders that can deal with the attackers England have got if they are on song.


England have struggled to score goals for a while now, what do you think is going wrong for them? What does Southgate need to do to change things in time for the World Cup?

I don't know what England need to change to win the World Cup  because I'm not a manager, but I remember when I played for England and it seemed that we could never play the same way as we did when playing at club level. Once England get on that same page with the attackers which will allow them to play like they do at club level, I think they'll be fine.

If you look at most of the attackers that are in that front line when they play for their club's, they can all rotate positions and make things hard for defenders to keep track of them, but when I watch England it doesn't feel like they play like that.


Sancho and Rashford - has Jarrod Bowen emergence ended their World Cup dreams? - Is it one place between the three of them? (Sterling, Foden, Grealish, Mount all nailed on)

Gareth Southgate has proved that you always have a chance of a call-up if you're playing well so now it's down to the individual players. 

With the emergence of players like Jarrod Bowen with how consistent he's been this season, especially when Michail Antonio hasn't been playing he's still been the player to put up the numbers and securing points on the board on a regular basis, so he's a hard one to ignore and leave out of the World Cup squad.

Competition is healthy and Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford have to rise to that, accept the challenge and get on with it.


Jack Grealish seems to have quite the impact for England, do you think he can be the go-to man for England at the World Cup?

International football suits Jack Grealish. When he gets on the football pitch, opposition players never know what to do with him because he's physically strong, he's happy to take on tackles and draw fouls and at the same time he's still got enough pace and trickery to get past them.

He reminds me of Paul Gascgoine in that England squad and I really like it. He's out of the box and he's a player that England need in the squad. Even if he comes on late in the game he just goes for it and we've seen him do it time and time again.


Romelu Lukaku wants to leave, should Chelsea allow him to go?

If Romelu Lukaku wants to go then he should, it's not fair otherwise because you don't want an unhappy player at the club because that will unsettle the rest of the dressing room.

I personally don't think he should go, he should stay there and fight and show the fans what he is actually capable of.


What’s gone wrong for Lukaku at Chelsea?

If you go back to when Lukaku first returned to Chelsea, they played a game against Arsenal and included him into their style and it worked perfectly with Romelu bullying their defenders.

The more and more the season went on they stepped away from playing to his strengths and so between both club and player, they need to come together with a plan to include each other into the way they play.

Sometimes you may say Lukaku needs to play the way Chelsea do, but I think they need to play in a way that will benefit him and make him a better player because if you're going to spend the big money on a striker, you have to include them in however you're going to play. Chelsea have to play in a way that will work for Lukaku and I believe Man City will do the same for Erling Haaland.


Who should Chelsea look to replace Lukaku with? Would Robert Lewandowski be a good signing?

No matter what team Robert Lewandowski plays in, he always finds a way to score a goal and he'd be the perfect replacement for Romelu Lukaku but Chelsea would still need to play to his strengths in order to make it work.


Jules Kounde has been linked to Chelsea as well, would he be a good signing?

Jules Kounde would be a good signing for Chelsea, he's young and a very talented defender, but Chelsea sold Fikayo Tomori who's a similar age and I think he barely gave the ball away all season at AC Milan and I just wonder why you would go and buy a player of a similar age, why not just keep the talent you've made?

If Kounde does sign for Chelsea, he'll have big boots to fill after Antonio Rudiger's exit.


Who else do Chelsea need to sign this month? 

It's hard to say until we know exactly who is signing new contracts or moving on, but Chelsea aren't that far off the Premier League and I think they showed that at the start of last season. Even if they weren't playing well, they were still finding a way to win games.

They're not far away, but they need a striker that's going to consistently score goals. Liverpool and Man City have gotten away with that previously because of the way they play, but if you don't play that system then it's difficult to get away with.


City have signed Haaland, Liverpool signing Nunez - are they already both out of reach for Chelsea to catch next season?

When Man City and Liverpool sign players as good as Haaland and Nunez, the teams around them need to find more goals from somewhere, whether it's from the team that they have already or by going out and recruiting the right players.


Who do you think will have the better first season? Can Nunez match Haaland or is the Man City man just too good?

Darwin Nunez really suits the way Liverpool play and you can see that, because of how well both Man City and Liverpool recruit, both players look to already fit perfectly into the team, it's just about them both getting used to their responsibilities and the way that the manager's want their players to play.

It'll be a great battle to watch, but you can't knock Harry Kane out of the equation yet because he and Son keep scoring.

I think between Nunez and Haaland, with Man City creating ten or more chances a game, even on a bad day, he should be rubbing his hands together.


Mason Mount has been criticized for his displays for England and Chelsea, why do you think he’s going through a bad patch of form?

Mason Mount is still a young player and is still learning to be consistent. He's played so well and is carrying Chelsea on his shoulders and helped them get into the Champions League, but people need to remember how young he is and that he's still got a lot to learn.

You look at when he came back to Chelsea from his loan spell, he played well when they were under a transfer ban, the season after that, Frank Lampard got sacked, Thomas Tuchel came in and he still played well. It's normal that he has a dip in form.

I hope Mason stays a one-club man at Chelsea and as long as they start to win trophies again, there will be no reason why he won't stay for his whole career. 


Chelsea are linked with Barcelona winger, Ousmane Dembele, is that the type of signing that can get Chelsea back competing for the Premier League title?

Ousmane Dembele is a fantastic footballer, it's just about whether his body can handle the physicality of the Premier League and if he can play a consistent run of games because he's had so many injuries.

If Chelsea can keep him fit then he'll be a massive player for them.


Tottenham major threat under Conte, already signing players - are Chelsea at risk of being passed by Spurs?

I can see Chelsea getting left behind by Tottenham. They became so resilient towards the back end of the season and were so good on the counter attack. Antonio Conte is a great manager and the club seems to be opening the cheque-book for him so he'll make things very difficult for the teams around him.


How do you think Erling Haaland will fare in his first season in the Premier League?

It's just a matter of how many goals Erling Haaland will score really. The creative players in Man City's team have hit double figures [for goal contributions] on a regular basis and that's without having a player like Haaland in the team.

Haaland will score a lot of goals and also occupy the defenders which didn't really happen when they played without a striker. He'll be as strong as them, as tall as them and quicker than them and he'll give opposition players something different to think about.

I back him to score a lot of goals in the Premier League.


Do you think he’ll end up as the league’s top goalscorer and possibly even break records next year?

I like Haaland’s confidence and you can see he's got that little bit of arrogance which players need in today's game.

He'll get plenty of chances playing in this Man City team so it's just down to him to put them in the back of the net which we know he can do.


Do you think with his signing, Man City can now go on and win their first Champions League title?

Erling Haaland is the missing piece in the Man City jigsaw puzzle and with his signing, they can win the Champions League next season. If Haaland was playing against Real Madrid in either of the two legs, Man City would have reached the final.


Raheem Sterling showed just how good he can be again v Germany, do you think he still has a future at Man City? If not, where else do you think he should go?

Raheem Sterling is still happy at Man City and the club still wants him. I want him to stay, but at the same time, all footballers want to play games and at the top clubs there is so much competition and rotation. It's down to Raheem. His heart seems to be at Man City, it just depends where his mind is.

Even if he went to a club like Arsenal, he wouldn't play every game because they have players like Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka.

All the top clubs are going to have at least two good players in each position. He would play more at Arsenal and the more important games but he would still be rotated.

I don't see the point in Raheem Sterling or Romelu Lukaku leaving their clubs, but I do understand why they might want to.


Who will finish as top goalscorer next season?

Erling Haaland. I'll even put a bet on it too.





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