Shaun Wright-Phillips talks about how he became an England player.
The first team I played for was a Sunday League club called Honor Oak boys.
I started to hit a bit of form and consistency by the time I was about eleven, and it merged into another team called Ten Em Bee, who my dad played for. One of my friend's dads then wanted to set up a side and there was a group of us who were really keen to play and we said we'd definitely do it if he set something up.Believe it or not, I used to be a striker.
At that age I was playing up front all the time and was scoring a lot of goals, mainly because the only thing I had to really worry about was shooting!I remember the day I signed for Manchester City really well.
I was 16 and it felt like a massive step forward for me. That was when I really started to believe that I could make it as a professional footballer. That was the first time I had the chance to sign schoolboy forms, and I started to think, ‘I could do this’.The first time I ever pulled on an England shirt was for the Under-21s, against Italy in 2002.
I remember the game was at Bradford City and the feeling of being involved, from the build-up to the match, was indescribable, it was something I had wanted to do since I was a kid. To actually get to the position was incredible, [Jermain] Defoe and [Gareth] Barry were in the team as well that night, it felt amazing. My first Senior deadline was against Ukraine at St. James' Park, in 2004.
It was a really cool evening. We won 3-0 and I scored as well, which made it even more special, and the feeling is something you would never be able to describe. Playing – and scoring – for my country is something I always wanted to do, and it felt incredible to have managed to get there and do it. It feels the same every time I get the chance to play for England and pull on the shirt.To be involved in the 2010 World Cup completely topped it off for me.
I grew up wanting to play in the tournament, so to do it was unbelievable. The England fans are fantastic supporters and they are always behind the lads to the fullest, it's great to have that support when you walk into a stadium anywhere in the world. You know they're always rooting for you.This interview came from the England v Montenegro official match programme in October. To download an ipreview, click here. To get your copy of the programme, click here, or to subscribe to ensure you always get your programme delivered to your door, click here.
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