Shaun Wright-Phillips Exclusive: Surprised By England Struggles
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Shaun Wright-Phillips Exclusive: Surprised By England Struggles

England have endured a disastrous summer of Nations League action – and their struggles have surprised former Three Lions winger Shaun Wright-Phillips. Gareth Southgate’s men failed to win any of their first three fixtures this month, before suffering an embarrassing 4-0 home defeat to Hungary on Tuesday. And Wright-Phillips was caught off guard by the side’s performances, after so many of the England team enjoyed impressive 2021/22 campaigns.


Surprised By England’s Struggles

Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “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.”

However, the former Manchester City and Chelsea star is still backing the Three Lions to impress at this winter’s Qatar World Cup.

“England can definitely win the World Cup, it's just a matter of them putting it together,” he continued. 

“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.”

Football Insights - Shaun Wright-Phillips

Football Insights - Shaun Wright-Phillips

Struggled In Front Of Goal

England have failed to score from open play in all four matches this summer, with Harry Kane’s penalty against Germany representing their only return in more than 360 minutes.

Finding a system that maximises the team’s attacking talents will be crucial to the Three Lions’ chances of success, according to Wright-Phillips.

“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,” he said.

“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 clubs, 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.”

World Cup Places Up For Grabs

There is certainly plenty of competition for places in England’s forward line, with Euro 2020 squad members Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford at risk of missing the plane to Qatar.

But Wright-Phillips believes the situation should push the Manchester United duo to rise to the occasion.

“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,” he explained.

“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.”

One man who will surely be in the England squad this November is Jack Grealish – and Wright-Phillips has even likened the Manchester City maestro to iconic midfielder Paul Gascoigne.

“International football suits Jack Grealish,” he said.

“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.”





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V: 1.37.0 All rights reserved. August 2021