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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 July, 2005, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Robben under pressure

By Pat Nevin
Former Chelsea and Scotland star

Shaun Wright-Phillips' 21m arrival at Chelsea does not just mean they have captured a quality player - it shows manager Jose Mourinho is intent on building a dynasty at Stamford Bridge.

And it also opens up some interesting sub-plots about who will be playing where for Chelsea next season.

Mourinho likes two players for every position, but I think the arrival of Wright-Phillips may just leave Arjen Robben a little vulnerable.

Don't get me wrong - Robben was fantastic for a part of last season and I'm not suggesting he will be moved on.

But he had a lot of injuries and people know more about him now. There were also whispers, only speculation I should stress, in the media that he was reluctant to play through injuries.

There is a mentality over here that you try and play with the odd knock, but in other countries the philosophy among players is that they will play when they are ready.

Shaun Wright-Phillips
Wright-Phiilips faces fierce competiton for places

There is no right or wrong on that one, but the arrival of Wright-Phillips emphasises that no-one is indispensible at Chelsea.

As a former Chelsea right-winger myself, I know the crowd will love him and his style at Stamford Bridge.

He is exciting and regarded as one of the top young English talents in the game today.

Mourinho clearly wants to have a core of top-class English players, and Shaun fits right into that philosophy.

I sometimes look at players and wish I had something they had - and as a one-time winger I wish I had Shaun's pace.

He's got skill as well as pace, is really fit and scores goals. He's got things to learn but he will have the perfect opportunity to do that under Mourinho.

His arrival is further confirmation to me that Mourinho is building something long-term at Chelsea, and something with a very English heartbeat.

Some managers with money buy the finished article and then have to rebuild the whole system a few years down the line.

Mourinho has gone for young players who he can mould and develop - he seems to steer clear of 30-plus players who may not be willing or able to buy into the concept he is trying to foster at Stamford Bridge.

Arjen Robben
Robben will be under pressure after Wright-Phillips' arrival

I suppose if there is a concern for the new boy, it is that Wright-Phillips faces serious competition for his place for Robben, Damien Duff and Joe Cole, although I'm sure he weighed all that up.

The concern for England is that he may not play enough games in the season leading up to a World Cup, and for Shaun he will also want to play enough games to make an impact.

It would be a worry for England if that happens, and he will certainly not want to disappear into the black hole that seemed to consume Scott Parker at Chelsea, although Scott was also unlucky with injuries.

But if there are any worries, Shaun need only look at how Joe Cole flourished after it looked as if his career had stalled.

If you are good enough, you will play under Mourinho. If Shaun is good enough, then Mourinho will have faith in him, as he proved with Cole.

It's a really good buy for Chelsea and it will be interesting to see how the battle for places pans out.




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