BWP given Pearce backing
By Lewis Rutledge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Stuart Pearce has said that it was hard to let Bradley Wright-Phillips go to Southampton.
Manchester City boss Stuart Pearce has lavished praise on Bradley Wright-Phillips following his move to Southampton.
Pearce admits that he will be sad to see the 21-year-old striker go but insisted that the move would probably benefit all parties concerned.
"In some ways if you take a dislike to someone it makes it easier for you to move them on," he told Sky Sports News.
"But in Bradley's case, he is a smashing kid and is one the most likeable people we have had around the place.
"We just felt that he needs a run of first team football and to build up confidence by playing first team football.
"It would have been tough for him to break in here and I think he either needed to go out on loan or, which is the route we have taken, we have got a fantastic offer from Southampton and we decided to go down that route and invest it somewhere else in the squad.
"If I am being honest, it is a good deal for our football club and a good deal for Bradley."
Pearce expects Wright-Phillips to play a key role for Southampton and is confident that he will develop further as a result.
"I spoke to Bradley and said that whatever you do don't feel downhearted, as you have gone to a club who have paid enough to suggest you will not be sitting in their reserves," he explained.
"Hopefully he will fulfil his potential and hopefully he will come back in a few years and I might sign him again."
Saints boss George Burley was equally enamoured with Wright-Phillips and backed him to provide a bit more spark to their frontline.
"He's a terrific player with a lot of ability and I'm really glad we've got him," said Burley.
"If you look at our front-men here there is no doubt we have some very good strikers but we lack a bit of pace.
"He will give us an extra dimension and it is great for us to have a young British striker which was the criteria I wanted.
"I tried to get him on loan last season but we were turned down. But we followed it up in the summer and have managed to sign him."
Wright-Phillips is relishing the prospect of playing for Burley, and intends to help propel Southampton back into The Premiership.
"It was a wrench to leave City but it's an exciting challenge," he declared.
"I spoke to my dad and he told me all about Southampton, and about George, and what to expect so I am happy to be here. It's a great club with great facilities.
"It's a big step for me. Southampton have got the players here to get back up to The Premiership and players I can learn from.
"It's just like being at a Premiership club and I hope I can help them get back there."