SAN FRANCISCO — For Shaun Wright-Phillips, scoring a goal in Manchester City’s first preseason game — a 2-0 win over Club América in the World Football Challenge — could benefit him a lot more than it might his team.
Since the arrival of teammate Adam Johnson in January of 2010, the speedy winger has seen his starts dramatically decrease. Last season, Wright-Phillips managed to get in the starting XI just twice and made only seven appearances on the season.
But in 45 minutes of action against the Mexican side on Saturday, the England international was arguably the most dangerous player on the field, blazing by defenders and scoring an insurance goal in the 27th minute, when he shot the ball from the edge of the box between two defenders and into the net.
“At this stage [of preseason], I’m feeling very strong” said Wright-Phillips. “I saw a glimpse of goal and I thought I would try and get a clean strike in. Normally I would pass in that position, but I got the shot and it went in.”
Added Man. City manager Roberto Mancini, “Shaun played very well. Shaun’s a very good player. I expect this year to be a very good year for him. He’s a good guy. Every time I need to choose the players, for me, it’s difficult because he’s a good guy.”
While Wright-Phillips may have shown the brightest, Ryan McGivern — who scored the first tally of the match in the 17th minute — and the rest of the team didn’t do too shabby of a job either.
The Citizens first XI controlled the first half with speed and accurate passing, and even though the scripts were flipped in the second stanza, after Mancini made wholesale changes to the lineup, the substitutes held down the fort. Mancini was happy that his team emerged victorious and without any injuries now that they are officially fully back into the thick of things.
“[América is] a good team,” he said. “Today it was important to play this game and not get an injury because we work a lot in the last two weeks. It’s important that we won this game. It’s important that we played football very well.”
As Manchester City continue their preseason preparations and their involvement in the World Football Challenge with a Monday night match against the Whitecaps, their win over Club América serves as a sign that they are moving in the right direction.
"After last season, it is definitely going to be a big season for us and I think we have improved,” said defender Vincent Kompany, who played the entire second half. “We have a stronger squad than last season. ... It's exciting times for us."