Milner And SWP Statements Are Breath Of Fresh Air
There's an increasing trend across top flight English football. Players droaning on about themselves instead of the cause they signed up for. Milner and SWP break the mould...
Only on Friday did City's Football Administrator Brian Marwood at Monaco's Europa League draw rail against unhelpful wantaway statements made by Emmanuel Adebayor.
Now before we go any further. Yes, Shaun Wright-Phillips has some history regarding departing City in ropey circumstances but never once did he publicly slate the club in the tragic way the bejewelled Stephen Ireland did a fortnight ago only to fall flat on his face at Aston Villa.
Furthermore, the hysterical shreiking about SWP's situation this year has been generated by The Sun's columnist Ian Wright. One of the finest ever MCFC youth products has endured poor form throughout this year but the signs in Europa league action last week are that the fire is returning to his boots.
Shaunie would be the first to accept that he does not have a divine right to walk into any Premier League starting XI. He has backed that up with an admirable Sun interview in the face of repeated hack assertions that he will leave City:
'I don't believe in quitting. I have always wanted to stay and there's no reason to go...the club want me to stay, too, and the challenge for me now is to help City achieve the goals they want to achieve. I don't think about being on the bench - I think about playing my part, even if it does mean coming on to clear one off the line.'
Such quotes are an absolute rarity these days. Mark Hughes' reign as City boss was plagued by weekly interviews from City players ready to talk about anything but the club's ambitions.
Since then, anyone revealing too much of what goes on at City's training ground either gets back on board or is shown the door by Roberto Mancini. SWP continues, with words that flatly contrast a lot of the nonsense trolled out by the anti-City brigade:
'I'm excited about all the players coming in. We learn from each other, there is great banter and great team spirit. We all give something different to the team and there will be times when we are all needed in different parts of the game...compared to two years ago, the quality has risen. Players are a lot better on the ball, playing and moving - you have to keep on your toes.'
A visible, calmer assurance about City's style of play has been growing from the first whistle this season and SWP confirmed that in summing up the squad situation:
'Now we have learned to slow the game down when we want and speed it up when we want, rather than just fast, fast, fast. We are picking our passes a lot more and trying new things.'
Fellow England international team mate James Milner, fresh from a scintillating performance for City against Liverpool chose his first interview last week to also accentuate the Manchester City positive:
'I'm desperate to be successful as quickly as possible. Things take time for any new players at a new club. It does take time to play your best football but...the better the set-up is, it makes that transition easier...we all want to get into the Champions League but at this moment we just want to get off to a good start.
'City is a club moving forward in a very fast way. We know where we want to get to and whether that's going to be this season or the season after we want to get right up there. The only thing I can control is playing football. It's a big club with a lot of good players at it. The pressure's there and that's what you want to thrive on, playing with the best players under pressure.'
Stephen Ireland, with the benefit of a full City pre season under his Thai boxing belt has looked painfully adrift in his first two starts for Aston Villa: a humiliation by Newcastle and subsequent European elimination by Rapid Vienna. Beforehand, he warned the world that James Milner would be 'in for a shock' at City. A claim Milner refutes:
'I think the spirit's very good. I haven't been here long but the team spirit is fantastic. They're a close bunch of lads and you just want to get in there and be part of it, get on with the football. No matter what else is being said outside the club we want to make sure they're talking about us winning trophies.'
Wright-Phillips and Milner are evidently two footballers intent on letting their on field efforts do the talking.
Stephen Ireland, either sat in his Bentley on the driveway or staring at his massive fish tank must surely be wishing now that he'd kept his mouth shut.