Date:Sunday May 7 2006
With the press working themselves up into a lather over Rooney's metatarsal and Owen's traditional pre-championship injuries, there is much speculation about what strikers will be heading off to Deutschland for the World Cup.
It's a depressing state of affairs when the names of Heskey, Beattie and Crouch are being spoken of and that got me thinking about how City's strikers have all been unfortunate with injuries that will almost certainly rule them out of contention.
Although by no means first choice names, a fully fit Darius Vassell or Andy Cole would be infinitely preferable to some of the strikers who will end up going and it must be frustrating for them that they'll be staying home and watching the World Cup on the TV like the rest of us.
However, perhaps the biggest striker frustration at City is young Bradley Wright-Phillips. Following SWP's departure to the Chelsea bench, it was hoped that Bradley would step out of his brother's shadow and blossom into a top class striker.
However, that's not been the case and both Keegan and Pearce have not shown any sort of confidence to give him a good run in the team; both managers limiting him to infrequent appearances in the 84th minute in which time he barely gets a chance to break sweat. He did get a couple of matches a just after Christmas, but he didn't really look comfortable in the role of premier striker, although to be fair he didn't really get any sort of service.
BWP has always shown great form in the reserves and his finishing prowess is well known within the club, but yet Psycho seems reluctant to use him even though Cole is still out Vassell has been carrying an injury for months and Samaras looks way out of form.
One can only deduce from all this that BWP will be looking for pastures new in the Summer, leaving supporters unclear about whether he could have made it at the top level or not. Who knows with a decent run in the team and a few goals under his belt he could even have been pushing for a World Cup place now that we seem to have a striker crisis, but we'll never know now.
Is Bradley just not up to the job or will he be another latent talent that slips through the net to be picked up by another club where he develops into a superstar. I must admit, I'm not sure myself, but if pushed probably suspect the former.
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