Mens Team

Wright-Phillips: Senior pros playing vital role in young squad

Shaun Wright-Phillips has been impressed by the sense of responsibility Manchester City’s senior players have for the development of their young team-mates.

City go into the new season with the third youngest squad in the Premier League, but the former Academy prospect turned first team star believes Pep Guardiola has got the perfect blend of youth and experience.


That’s largely down to the leadership qualities Wright-Phillips has identified in established players, with the fan favourite revealing Raheem Sterling’s willingness to help his son – 18-year-old EDS winger D’Margio – is a contrast to his own time as a young professional.

“The leaders that are in the position to lead now are good role models on and off the pitch,” Wright-Phillips said on the latest episode of We’re Not Really Here.

“They seem susceptible to help that kid, to help him get where he needs to get to.

“My son has told me that he will go and speak to Sterling and Sterling will have a conversation with him. For that doorway to be open is a nice touch.

“When we were coming through, we were on one side and the first team were over there. We didn’t get to have that conversation.

“We had the conversation with some of them in the reserves but they were normally the ones not playing any more, so it was a hard conversation to have; to say what do you need to do to get to there when they couldn’t get there themselves.

“Most of the seniors back then, if they weren’t playing, they didn’t really care. The way it is now, is much better.”

It is a sentiment shared by Joleon Lescott, who believes the more experienced members of the City squad are invaluable to a young side attempting to compete on four fronts.

However, the two-time Premier League winner says that our recent success is, in part, due to the fact our young players have been ready to perform at the highest level.

The likes of Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva were all brought in under the age of 25 and have been pivotal in winning silverware and Phil Foden is now starting to prove his credentials on a regular basis.

And Lescott hailed the Club’s transfer policy for creating a balanced squad which has a conveyor belt of young players developing into leaders.

“[To succeed with a young squad] the recruitment has to be spot on because you have to be recruiting players at a young age but know that they are ready to compete and know they are ready to achieve the level of consistency,” he added.

“They mature, like Raheem, into the leaders of the group and then you bed in other talent and they’re younger and you have time to bed them in, like Phil Foden.

“If you look at Phil, Raheem came in and was older, but he was able to compete at the level we needed him to.

“The timing aspect to all that is so important and there is so much detail that goes into all those things and there is a balance to the squad.

“You need experience, you need ability, you need youth. You can’t take for granted how much experience is needed and valued in a team.”

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