Shaun Wright-Phillips has called time on his illustrious playing career.
The City legend confirmed his decision today on Soccer AM.
His magnificent football journey, that took him from City to Chelsea, back to his beloved Blues, and then onto Queen’s Park Rangers and finally spells in America with New York Red Bulls and Phoenix Rising ends at the age of 37.
Over the course of his two spells at the Club, Wright-Phillips made 277 appearances, scoring 48 goals in total as well as 20 assists.
And in that time, SWP carved his name into City folklore with his bold fearless attacking play and ability to conjure up spectacular goals.
While with City, he was part of the squad that won both the English Division One crown in 2001/02 as well as the FA Cup in 2010/11.
Wright-Phillips was also a Premier League winner with Chelsea in the 2005/06 season along and also tasted FA Cup success in 2006/7 with the Londoners.
During the course of his stellar career, he also represented England on 36 occasions, scoring six goals and was part of the England’s 2010 World Cup finals squad.
“I was trying to hold on to [my career] for as long as possible," SWP said today.
"But over the last few weeks, I've decided it is time to be official and say: I'm officially retired.
"I was doing stuff with Manchester City and little stuff with TV - and it helped me glide out of it.
"I knew growing up it was not something that lasts forever, but after I had my last operation, it fell into place."
It’s now the stuff of legends that after Nottingham Forest rejected Shaun for being ‘too small’. City snapped up the young midfielder, along with his kid brother Bradley and began to prepare the pair for life at the Academy.
After Joe Royle had returned to the club as manager in 1998 after his first training session at Platt Lane, he commented to the Academy staff that “the little fella was terrific” – Shaun had already caught the manager’s eye aged 16.
It was Royle that drip-fed Shaun into his team, giving him his debut against Burnley in 1999 before bringing him more and more into the first team picture. It was clear he was a special talent and when Royle was sacked in May 2001, Kevin Keegan said that he thought Shaun would one day play for England
His skill, endeavour and energy soon made him a crowd idol at Maine Road and he quickly became an indispensible member of the senior squad.
A huge crowd favourite, SWP was also named City’s Young Player of the Year over four consecutive seasons from 1999/2000 through to 2002/03.
He was then voted City’s Player of the Year in the 2003/04 season.
His efforts at club level did not go unnoticed at international level, either, and he won his first full England cap against Ukraine in 2004. In doing so, he also became the first Academy player to represent his country.
After more than 150 games for City, ‘Wrighty’ joined Chelsea in 2005 for £21m, later admitting that he’ broke down’ on the way to sign for the Stamford Bridge side.
Though he won his first medals with Chelsea, he always harboured hopes that he could one day return to City and in 2008, his wish came true.
Mark Hughes brought Shaun back to the Blues in August 2008 and he announced his return with two goals in a 3-0 win away to Sunderland, much to the delight of the travelling City fans.
Though a regular in Hughes’ team, Shaun began to drift out of the first XI during Roberto Mancini’s first season and was only occasionally included during the 2010/11 campaign, though he did come on as a sub in our FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester United in 2011, before he moved on to Queen’s Park Rangers in the summer of 2011.
He subsequently went on to make a further 74 appearances for Rangers before then embarking on a new adventure in the MLS in the United States where he figured 27 times for Phoenix Rising and 25 times for New York Red Bulls with his last appearance coming in late 2017.
Reflecting on his time at City, SWP revealed: “I just want to acknowledge how much they mean to me.
“I just hope that, in the 10 years of playing for this club, I’ve shown my appreciation back. It’s harder for me to give it back, I wouldn’t know how to but 10 years I’ve been lucky enough to play in front of them have been fantastic.
“For me, the biggest pull has been the fans.
“They’ve been with me since I was playing as a schoolboy, all the way through the reserves, right the way through my career. They didn’t even turn their back on me when I left for Chelsea, they’ve always supported me. When they came to Chelsea and when I returned as a Chelsea player, I always received a brilliant welcome. It’s more like a family situation.
“The way I look at it is they always give good support and they always support the team with all their heart. I just try on the pitch to give it everything and 100% every time I play because I know there’s people out there who have supported me when things haven’t gone so well, they’ve always been behind me.”