Eriksson puts Wright-Phillips in long-term plans

Sven Goran Eriksson yesterday gave the broadest hint yet that Manchester City's Shaun Wright-Phillips has a long-term England future, starting with next month's friendly against the Netherlands.

Debate has been rife in recent weeks as to how the highly rated 23-year-old Manchester City winger can be accommodated in Eriksson's team after a number of eye-catching performances for his club this season.

Some have suggested that Wright-Phillips could even replace the England captain, David Beckham, but Eriksson ruled that out yesterday even suggesting that both could play in the same team against the Dutch at Villa Park on 9 February.

Before making the draw for this summer's women's European Championships, being staged in England in June, Eriksson said: "It is possible to play them both, why not? For one and a half years David has been playing in central midfield at Real Madrid so of course it is possible he could do the same for the national team."

That would allow Eriksson to use Wright-Phillips on the right. But, the England coach disclosed, he would also consider using Wright-Phillips on the opposite side, traditionally England's problem position. "Shaun Wright-Phillips could play on the left," said Eriksson. "I am quite sure about that. I know it's not his best position but he is a very clever player. I'll pick him in the 22 and we'll see whether he starts or not. He deserves to be in the squad because he is getting better and better."

The draw for the women's European Championship saw England paired with Sweden, Finland and Denmark.

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