Royle: Shaun is the future

JOE Royle today insisted that Shaun Wright-Phillips should not be dumped by England.It was the Ipswich boss, when he was in charge of Manchester City, who gave the pacy, diminutive winger his big break back in August, 1999.

JOE Royle today insisted that Shaun Wright-Phillips should not be dumped by England.

It was the Ipswich boss, when he was in charge of Manchester City, who gave the pacy, diminutive winger his big break back in August, 1999.

Royle saw his protégé struggle to impress in his first international start, last night's goalless stalemate with Holland at Villa Park.

But he said: “I don't think Shaun had a terrible game - at least he was there to miss a couple of chances.


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“He has been a bit unfortunate with England. I was actually disappointed that he didn't make the squad for Euro 2004.

“To say he has been messed around would be wrong, but he has not had a run in his best position and I think he deserves that.

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“Shaun shouldn't be discarded and I don't think Sven will do that. At the very least he should be in the squad as cover for David Beckham.”

Wright-Phillips had scored once in three substitute appearances before facing the Dutch in a bore draw watched by a 40,000-plus crowd.

Royle added: “There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to international friendlies any more.

“Is Stewart Downing the answer to the gaping hole on the left? I don't know and I'm none the wiser after last night.

“I'd have liked to have seen more of him last night. I couldn't quite see the point in giving him half an hour.”

Returning to the subject of the player he picked for his City debut at the tender age of 17, the Ipswich boss could not have talked in more glowing terms.

“He came into the club after Nottingham Forest had released him,” Royle recalled of the winger who now has a £20million price tag on his head.

“We wanted his younger brother, Bradley, and it made sense to rope them in together.

“From the very first day Shaun made it very clear he was going to be a player.

“He ran himself into the ground. He was so keen to make an impression that he thrust himself to the front and ran away from everyone.

“He eventually blew up with blisters and exhaustion and he couldn't train for the next four days, but it was clear he had the right attitude.

“I gave him his debut because he was ready.

“In our game we have a big shortage of players who can go past opponents with the ball. It's a priceless talent and Shaun has it in abundance.

“It is Sven's problem what he does with the England team, but I think Shaun has to stay.

“Forget his size - he has the ability and can make things happen.

“He's big-hearted and his temperament is ideal. His crossing and finishing have improved to the point where he is City's leading scorer. In short, he's the future.”

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