Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Harper Can Still Realise Dream, Insists Toon Old Boy Wright

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Harper Can Still Realise Dream, Insists Toon Old Boy Wright

Article excerpt

TOON cult hero Tommy Wright feels that Steve Harper can still turn his England dream into a reality next season.

Wright believes that the goalkeeping department at Newcastle United could not be stronger.

But with David James expected to retire from the international stage after the World Cup, Wright - who has played at the top level for both United and Northern Ireland on the international circuit - reckons that Harper can give England boss Fabio Capello food for thought in the Premier League next term.

Wright helped Newcastle stay in business in the early 1990s during Kevin Keegan's first stint in charge and prevented a slide into third-tier football before laying the foundations for a 16-year stay in the top flight in the 1992/93 side that won the old First Division.

Harper was a fresh-faced youngster in awe of the Northern Ireland star back then - and now Wright feels it's the turn of the Easington-born ace to shine in the Premier League next term.

He told the Chronicle: "For me, there seems to be a shortage of quality for England, and it looks like David James will be on his way after the World Cup.

"That, for me, suggests there will be an opportunity for somebody.

"I know there are a few people who will be in contention.

"But Steve Harper is a quality goalkeeper who has, in my opinion, another five years to offer at the top level.

"If Fabio Capello continues to pick players on the form they show for their clubs then there's no reason why Steve shouldn't be given a chance.

"He's still young for a keeper and, as I say, can play on at the top level for five years.

"Who knows what can happen? "You just can't rule anything out. David James is playing the World Cup and will be 40 in August shortly after it finishes.

"If he retires, then England don't have an established No 1. "Yes, there's Rob Green, Ben Foster and Joe Hart, but not anybodythat I would say is No 1 choice. …

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