Aaron Lennon and Shaun Wright-Phillips are similar players in many ways; both are diminutive wingers with great pace and dribbling ability. They are also both English which makes the comparison more interesting as Lennon is the current occupant of England’s right midfield position but Wright-Phillips is knocking on the door. Wright-Phillips is the older of the two players at 28 and has far more experience; Lennon is only 22 and as such is still expected to improve.
Shaun Wright-Phillips was once considered one of the brightest young talents in Europe but his career stalled during his spell at Chelsea and he has never quite fulfilled his potential. Back at Manchester City now he has been more productive and along with Craig Bellamy he has been one of the club’s best performers. Wright-Phillips has the ability to drift past players with the ball and then drive in towards goal. He can strike the ball well and has a whole back-catalogue of spectacular goals to his name. One criticism that can always be levelled at him however is that he is not an intelligent dribbler; he often runs himself into dead ends and loses possession. Despite this he is a dangerous player and one who would have a part to play in most teams.
Aaron Lennon burst onto the scene before the last World Cup and went to Germany to be used as an impact substitute. Since that point his career faltered at Tottenham as question marks were rightfully raised over his ability to put in a quality cross. Lennon’s ability to beat a full-back has never been in doubt but too often in his career he has done this only to put in a ball of low quality. In recent months there has been a drastic improvement in Lennon’s final delivery and he is now one of the most effective players in the Premier League. Once he has isolated a full-back there is very little that can be done to stop him. Lennon has been nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award three years running and he has recently established himself in England’s starting line-up.
Wright-Phillips carries more of a goal threat than Lennon but this season the Tottenham man has improved on this side of his game. He is on course for a career’s best for league goals and important winners against West Ham and Birmingham earlier this season played a big part in Spurs’ strong start. Despite his youth, he has the potential to far exceed Wright-Phillips’ current level of ability. Lennon’s form this season has been extraordinary and for me he is the superior player.