x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Mancini lauds 'good day' for City and Wright-Phillips in America

The midfielder, amid transfer rumours, scores in a 2-0 victory over Club America in the World Football Challenge tournament.

Shaun Wright-Phillips kicks the ball away from George Corral of Club America at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Shaun Wright-Phillips kicks the ball away from George Corral of Club America at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO // Shaun Wright-Phillips doesn't seem too concerned about his future with Manchester City, even as manager Roberto Mancini continues to challenge the 29-year-old midfielder over his roster spot.

The way Wright-Phillips sees it, he just needs to concentrate on soccer and the rest will take care of itself.

Wright-Phillips, who has been the subject of transfer rumours this summer, scored in the 27th minute of the first half and the Blues kicked off their North American tour with a 2-0 win over Club America in the World Football Challenge.

"I don't think it's just about me in regards to the season," Wright-Phillips said. "It's just about the team playing well, working hard together and following the instructions we've been given to push us on to do great things this year."

Ryan McGivern also scored and goalies Joe Hart and Stuart Taylor combined for the shutout while helping the Blues, the 2011 FA Cup champions, to the win before a sparse crowd of 11,250 at AT&T Park.

The game is part of a three-week summer tour across North America that includes English Premier League (EPL) powerhouse Manchester United along with Spanish teams such as Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Wright-Phillips, in his second stint with Manchester City, got the Blues off to a successful start with his goal in the 27th minute.

That followed McGivern's goal earlier in the first half after forward Edin Dzeko and Wright-Phillips easily worked the ball downfield through Club America's defence.

It was exactly the type of game Mancini hoped for when he told Wright-Phillips that he needed to play well this summer for a chance to stick with the club.

"Shaun is a good player and it turned out to be a good day for him," Mancini said. "He's a good guy. Every time that that I have to choose a player for these games it's difficult because these are good guys. Today he played very well and scored a goal."

The Blues, who placed third in the EPL and earned a berth in the Champions League, made their summer debut without captain Carlos Tevez.

Tevez has cited family reasons for wanting out of Manchester City and was playing at the Copa America for Argentina, which lost to Uruguay in a shootout.

There were reports later in the day that Brazilian team Corinthians had upped their offer in hopes of landing Tevez, and Mancini said he planned to speak with the Blues' star striker soon. In the past, Mancini has said he understands and respects Tevez's desire to leave

"Probably I will speak to him but not tonight," Mancini said. "I'm very sorry for him because for Argentina it was really important (to play well in) Copa America."

Wright-Phillips won't ever be confused for Tevez but the veteran midfielder proved he can still be a sparkplug for the Blues.

Edin Dzeko and Wright-Phillips teamed up in the first half and worked the ball downfield before getting it to McGivern, who curled a kick inside the far post in the 17th minute to give Manchester City a 1-0 lead.

Dzeko sparked City again later in the first half after controlling the ball then dishing it to Wright-Phillips, whose kick from 20 yards out easily beat Club America goalie Armando Navarrete.

"I saw a glimpse of the goal and I thought I would try to get a clean strike," Wright-Phillips said. "Normally I pass in that situation but I got the shot off and it went in."

That was critical because Wright-Phillips is likely playing for a roster spot. The Blues have reportedly been considering transfer offers from other teams, and Mancini has hinted a good showing this summer could get Wright-Phillips back into the mix with City.

After getting shut out by Hart in the first half, Club America missed two chances early after halftime and didn't get much else going while losing for the first time in four matches this summer.

"We were very lax in the beginning and that was something that I really didn't like too much," Club America coach Carlos Reinoso said. "America has to be a very serious team, especially when matches like this come. I think we're on a good path."

Edgar Castillo had a breakaway chance but Taylor made a diving deflection. Taylor later knocked away a header attempt by Daniel Marquez in the 49th minute.

Club America replaced seven players from last season, including Mexican national goalie Guillermo Ochoa, who signed with Ajaccio of France.

Manchester City will play an exhibition against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Monday.


Cristiano Ronaldo scored a signature goal and Real Madrid displayed its deft scoring ability to beat the Los Angeles Galaxy 4-1 in a friendly.

In a game that pitted Galaxy midfielder David Beckham against his old side, Jose Callejon, Joselu and Karim Benzema also scored for the Spanish giants, who showed little rust in their preseason opener.

"We won, that is most important," Ronaldo said. "We want to keep on training hard to start well this season."

Ronaldo, who set La Liga's scoring record with 40 goals last season, entered as a halftime substitute. The Portuguese star used multiple step-over's to beat three defenders, then fired a sharp shot with his left foot that found its way inside the near post and made it 3-0 early in the second half.

"He's one of the best players in the world, and clearly he showed why," Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan said. "He is not at top form quite yet, but you can still see that he has moments of brilliance that aren't really teachable."