x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Mancini eyes bigger role for Shaun Wright-Phillips

Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, has indicated that Shaun-Wright Phillips could have a big role to play in the coming months.

Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, has indicated that Shaun-Wright Phillips could have a big role to play in the coming months.

Wright-Phillips is expected to start in Greece tonight in the first leg of their Europa League tie against Aris Salonika.

He impressed Mancini when he came on in the second half of the 2-1 derby defeat at Manchester United on Saturday.

With Adam Johnson injured, Wright-Phillips looks to have been given a second chance after handing in a transfer request that was rejected.

Mancini said: "I said 20 days ago when we lost Adam Johnson that we could have a problem, because he could have changed this game. But we don't have him at this moment and it is maybe important that Shaun can play now."

Mancini has named a strong squad for the game in Greece as City resume their campaign after a two-month break. Carlos Tevez, their leading scorer, is included, as is Mario Balotelli following a knee problem.

Meanwhile, Obafemi Martins has set his sights on sealing a permanent move to Birmingham City as he prepares to face his former club Newcastle United in tonight's home Premier League clash. Martins, the Nigeria international striker, is on loan from Russian side Rubin Kazan for the rest of the season.

"It doesn't matter to me that Birmingham aren't the biggest team in this division. They're not the smallest team either," he said. "I wanted to come here and play for them. This is a great opportunity."

Martins also knows he has made many people happy in his homeland by returning to England. He said: "There are 150 million people [in Nigeria] and many of them watch Premier League football on TV. When I was playing in Russia, people kept telling me I had to go back to the Premier League so they could watch me more often."