Former Manchester City and Chelsea winger, Shaun Wright-Phillips is full of praise for the talent present in India, claiming that the country is is very "close to qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup".
The 40-year-old who visited India with Indian Super League (ISL) side, Mumbai City FC admitted that he did not think that the country was so football-oriented and was surprised with the love for the game, especially among the youngsters.
“I didn’t think India was so football-oriented, but to see the fans appreciate the sport, was a dream sight to see. I met a footballer in Bengaluru who plays for the national team and he seemed like a massive personality, and I’d keep my eye on him and will even follow him on social media," he said as quoted by Hindustan Times.
“I think India is very close to qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. I’ve been watching young players in Bengaluru play, and now I’m in Mumbai to see Mumbai City FC, and I’m very impressed. There seems to be a foundation in them, the kids are getting into it young and there’s more time for them to learn. And they will be out to face the challenges head-on,” Wright-Phillips added.
The former England international who retired from the sport in 2019, played for a number of top clubs during his career including the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea, while also making 36 appearances for the national team.
The former winger won the Premier League title in 2005 with Chelsea and was named in the 2004/05 PFA Team of the Year.