Ian Wright fears worst for son and QPR in relegation fight

IAN Wright believes son Shaun Wright-Phillips and his Queens Park Rangers team-mates will be relegated and lucky to get a point from their remaining ten fixtures

The west Londoners languish 18th in the Barclays Premier League and are in serious danger of an immediate return to the second tier. QPR have won just once in 16 games and face a tough final run of fixtures, with trips to Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City ahead of them. They also welcome Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham to Loftus Road before the season’s end and Wright thinks they will be lucky to get anything from their remaining games.

“I think the players that have come in have not performed to the level that they should, simple as that,” said the Arsenal goalscoring legend, speaking at an Absolute Radio event to raise money for the Prince’s Trust. “I think that they’ve got quality players but they’re just not playing well, none of them.

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“When you get into a situation where you’re losing it’s hard to get out of it, and things like [Clint Hill’s disallowed goal at Bolton on Saturday] happen.

“All of a sudden you score a goal, it’s a foot-and-a-half behind the line, it doesn’t get given and those are those are the things that go against you. Then you look at their run-in and I honestly can’t see them getting a point out of that so it looks like, for me, Wigan, QPR and Wolves [to go down].”

Wright also believes his former club Arsenal’s mental edge will see them end the season above north London rivals Tottenham. The Gunners moved closer to their old foes on Monday night, with Thomas Vermaelen’s strike five minutes into injury time earning a dramatic 2-1 win over Newcastle at the Emirates. The victory means the 10-point gap that once separated Arsenal and Spurs has been reduced to one, leaving the former well-placed to achieve the top-four finish that seemed way beyond them at the turn of the year.

Wright has been impressed by Arsene Wenger’s side’s spirit of late and predicts they will end the season above Spurs. “This is where their squad’s going to be tested and this is what I say to the Tottenham fans,” said Wright. “You just have to wait and watch them get reeled in because even Man City, with the money they’ve spent and everything, are getting reeled in.

“Tottenham are having a great season, but the fact is they don’t know how it is to finish it off at this stage, which is the problem they’re going to have now. They lost against Everton, they got murdered against Arsenal and lost to Man United.”

He added: “When you pull that many points back, it gives Arsenal more than a good chance of finishing above Tottenham.

“Arsenal know how to finish the season and stay in that top four, while Spurs are still finding out what it is like to be in there, stay in there and the pressure of having to win games. I think Arsenal know that and it has just been good to stay close enough to get the points where they can and now we’re one point behind and right amongst them. I think we can finish third, no problem.”

Some respected figures have suggested talk linking Spurs manager Harry Redknapp with a move to England has derailed his club, leading Wright to question why the Tottenham boss would want the post.

“Harry’s got a lot of the journalists where he wants them so he’s kind of sweet with everybody,” he said. “But if England don’t play well in respect of the tactics and that, they’ll turn on Harry just like they’ll turn on anyone. It’s a nightmare job and, of course, it’s meant to be the job you aspire to as a manager.

“It’s meant to be a job you take at 60 or 65, of course it is, but why would you want to take that kind of job at 65? It’s just health problems nowadays, Harry’s had problems recently, what does he want that job for?”

Meanwhile, Theo Walcott is convinced that Robin van Persie is the best striker in the Barclays Premier League. Van Persie has been in excellent form this season, almost single-handedly dragging the Gunners back in to the race for the Champions League by scoring 33 goals in 38 matches.

“When I was on the treatment bed alongside him in previous years it was such a shame to see so much talent wasted. He has made up for lost time, I am sure of that,” said Walcott.

“You just give him anything and he will put it away – left foot, right foot and he has scored a couple of headers as well. He makes it look easy and it’s really not.”