The £21 million winger who now could be set for relegation to the Championship

SWP Chelsea

Chelsea shelled out £21 million for Shaun Wright-Phillips back in 2005; now at QPR his career is plummeting faster than an Ashley Young dive.

What happened to Shaun Wright-Phillips? 

Back as recently as 2010 he was featuring in a World Cup game for England against USA, and it says everything about his demise that he has not featured for his country since that same year.

Now he is stuck in a rut at basement club QPR, unable to influence games as he once did, and at the age of 31 the view of many is that his international career is over for good.

While it's never too late, especially as he could move onto a fresh start if QPR are relegated, it's a sudden fall from grace for a player who was once rated as England's brightest talent.

As the adopted son of Arsenal striking legend and former England international Ian Wright it was easy to see why there was hype over him, but his early performances on the pitch backed it up.

He was lightning quick, a nightmare for defenders to deal with and direct, not only that but he possessed a ferocious shot and accuracy from outside the box which quickly attracted the attention of the league's top sides.

A decade ago he was at Manchester City when he was making an impression, but in the days before they were flush with cash, he needed to go elsewhere to realise his ambitions.

Torn between a switch between Arsenal and Chelsea, he opted for the latter, to save himself the pressure of following in his father's footsteps, and to write his own career path.

Chelsea spent a whopping £21 milion on his signature in 2005, and while he did go onto win medals at Stamford Bridge, it's hard to argue his career there was a success.

Like fellow Englishmen Scott Parker and Steve Sidwell, Wrigh-Phillips found himself crowded out and unable to play regularly - a similar problem to that which Scott Sinclair is currently experiencing at Manchester City.

So in 2008 SWP decided to return to Manchester City; his transfer value depreciated to a figure of £5.5 million. The idea was for him to finally get back playing regularly, but he would be beset by more bad luck.

A day later Manchester City were bought by Sheikh Mansour. It led to City splashing out on numerous attacking options over the next year beginning with Robinho, and Wright-Phillips quickly found himself in exactly the same position as he was in at Chelsea, in and out of the side having to make do with appearances off the bench.

During all this his form suffered too. No longer was he the bright young talent, but a meandering frustrating player with an emphasism on an inability to provide a cutting through ball.

At international level Aaron Lennon had usurped him while young pretender Theo Walcott was also pushing him backwards in the queue. Indeed it was a surprise when SWP was selected ahead of Walcott in the 2010 World Cup squad.

When he came on the for the injured James Milner in England's opener against USA after half an hour, he put in one of his worst performances in an England shirt, his final ball letting him down repeatedly and he did not win a place in the starting line-up for the remaining games.

Last season he made a move to QPR after it was made clear he was not needed at City by Roberto Mancini. After a bright debut in a 0-0 draw with Newcastle he didn't quite have the impact it was hoped he might, and this season has been no better.

After being dropped by Mark Hughes at the end of his tenure, he has been brought back into the side by Harry Redknapp, but it's not really clicking for him. He has just one Premier League goal and one assist all season, and began their last game against Swansea back on the bench.

With time running out for QPR who are seven points from safety, relegation would be in keeping with his downwards career trajectory.

The only remaining question is, if QPR do go down, will any Premier League club decide he is worth taking a chance on next season?

Where do you think it all went wrong for Wright-Phillips? Can he bounce back?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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