Sympathy for outcasts Phillips and Fowler

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The Independent Online

Steve Mcmanaman, the England and Real Madrid midfielder, thinks Euro 2000 must have been a very dispiriting experience for Kevin Phillips.

Steve Mcmanaman, the England and Real Madrid midfielder, thinks Euro 2000 must have been a very dispiriting experience for Kevin Phillips.

England failed to advance from the group stages but McManaman admitted he felt particularly sympathetic for the prolific Sunderland marksman who failed to make an appearance in the tournament.

"It is very disheartening after he scored 30 league goals and was the Golden Boot winner in Europe," said the one-time Liverpool hero, who also felt for another unused striker, his former Anfield team-mate Robbie Fowler.

"I had 17 minutes in the World Cup and that was very disheartening, but at least I could say I actually played. But for them, it was not very nice at all." He added: "It was probably very disheartening for them because they didn't get a chance at all to impress."

McManaman has reiterated his desire to remain with the European Cup winners Real Madrid - even though the Spanish club's coach, Vicente del Bosque, has warned him that he faces a struggle to retain his place in the first team this season.

"We have had seven new signings and six of them were midfielders," the England man said. "We have about 12 midfielders to fill three or four places, so competition for places will be tough. But I maintain I want to stay."

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