Whatever flickering hope still burned for Queens Park Rangers, whose season went wildly astray months ago, just grew a little weaker.
That’s the bottom line on news this morning that winger Shaun Wright-Phillips will miss the rest of England’s season after undergoing ankle surgery.
It’s not that Wright-Phillips, who has 36 appearances for England, has been some hugely influential figure around Loftus Road in London this year; He has just two goals in 22 Premiership appearances this year, and has not played in almost a month.
It’s just that the former Chelsea and Manchester City winger can be the kind of difference-maker and game-breaker that manager Harry Redknapp would need over the season’s stretch run to pull out a miracle and keep the West London side in the Premier League money.
This weekend, for instance, QPR hosts perennial relegation dodger Wigan. It’s a match that Redknapp and his club absolutely, positively must win for any hopes of making up a seven-point gap over the remaining contests. It’s the “easiest” of seven remaining matches. (QPR’s remaining matches are here.)
Wright-Phillips had attempted to fight through the ongoing ankle issues, hoping to get himself to the point where he could affect the push to relegation safety. Earlier this week, all parties apparently relented. Said Redknapp through the club’s official website:
Shaun has had an operation. It needed doing, we tried to keep him going.
“He’s played with the pain and not felt 100 percent. He couldn’t train or play to his maximum. The pain was too much and he will hopefully be back at the start of next season now.
“We had wanted to try and keep him going but he couldn’t carry on.”