Manchester City have just achieved their best ever Premier League finish, despite missing out on the Champions League; how would you rate the season just gone?
To be honest the main thing this season was that things went well for us and it was a big step forward for the club in the right direction. We’ve always been an ambitious club, and I’ve personally been an ambitious player since I was young, but the difference is that now we’re in a better position to achieve that.
Everyone was disappointed to miss out on fourth place, but that’s football – there are highs and lows and when you get a low you have to be ready and willing to bounce back, and that’s what we’ll be looking to do next season.
We’ve got a lot of belief after what we’ve done this season and qualifying for the Champions League is something we’re going to aim for next year.
Do you think Spurs were worthy winners of ‘the race for fourth’?
Tottenham played well in the games where it really counted, particularly towards the end of the season. I hope they do well in the Champions League, it’s good for English football to have another team involved and for them to go far. I’ll be backing them the same as I do every other English club in Europe.
There’s been a lot of talk about Roberto Mancini’s approach to training and it being very different to that of Mark Hughes; how have you found it?
A lot’s been said about it, but it’s to be expected – they’re two different people and they both have their own style, both tactically and in training. Roberto Mancini has obviously come in from Italy where there’s more focus on the tactical preparations, whereas Mark Hughes had spent a long time in the Premier League and we’d work a lot more on our counter-attacking football.
Personally, I enjoy training, so it isn’t an issue.
You’ll face some stiff competition for a berth in Fabio Capello’s final 23 for the World Cup – what is it you think you offer that your right-wing rivals don’t?
I don’t observe other players like that, I just concentrate on my own game and as far as I’m concerned, whichever players do well while we’re away on the training camp will deserve to go to South Africa in my eyes. I’ll just take that mentality there and stay positive.
Your Manchester City team-mate Adam Johnson has been one of the ‘surprise’ call-ups into the provisional 30 man squad – what qualities could he bring to the side?
He’s a textbook winger – he’s brilliant at creating the opportunities for other players to score goals, and he’s left-footed, which could work in his favour as there aren’t too many left-footed players in the squad. But you never know who’ll get picked, that decision will ultimately lie with Fabio Capello.
You scored for first header in a competitive match at West Ham on Sunday, it seemed like you achieved some decent ‘hang time’ – does that mean you’re a danger on the basketball court too?
I’m pretty handy, although I’m not really one for slam dunks – I can only just about reach the net!
If the England squad had to get together to record a World Cup single, which song would you cover?
It’d have to be World in Motion, with Rio (Ferdinand) doing the John Barnes rap – he thinks he’s got it when it comes to rapping, he’ll text me random lyrics every now and then.
You’re currently promoting the upcoming racing game Split/Second:Velocity, tell us a bit about that...
I’m playing it all the time at the moment, it’s a really good racing game and I’m making sure I get the practice in before I start playing against my team mates! Split/Second is definitely a game I can see a lot of people getting into and getting very competitive with, so hopefully if I do make it out to South Africa we’ll be� able to get a few games going with the other lads.
Fabio Capello has coaxed Jamie Carragher out of international retirement, and tried to do the same with Paul Scholes, if you could call up any player from England’s past to the current squad, who would it be?
It would have to be my dad. It’d be nice for him to get the opportunity because he missed out through injury in 1998. He’s always supported me, although of course a lot more gets made of that because he’s doing it on TV and the radio. But that's what he does and he's good at it.
Do you ever watch Live from Studio Five, then?
No, not really...I'm usually busy.
Interview: James Maw, May 2010.Shaun Wright-Phillips was promoting arcade racing game Split/Second: Velocity from Disney Interactive Studios, available on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.
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Gary Parkinson is a freelance writer, editor, trainer, muso, singer, actor and coach. He spent 14 years at FourFourTwo as the Global Digital Editor and continues to regularly contribute to the magazine and website, including major features on Euro 96, Subbuteo, Robert Maxwell and the inside story of Liverpool's 1990 title win. He is also a Bolton Wanderers fan.
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