SHAUN WRIGHT-PHILLIPS has been studying tapes of his Chelsea appearances, while spending time looking on from the stands in recent weeks. A sign of an under-performing professional rather than a rising star intent on going to the World Cup.

Going on Wednesday's performance - when he incredibly played his first full 90 minutes of his six months Blues career - Jose Mourinho's attempts to revitalise the winger's confidence has worked a treat.

It is that type of managerial decision that justifies at least a chunk of why Mourinho is being paid a handsome £5m salary to turn Chelsea into European, as well as Premiership, champions.

For all Chelsea's critics, and there are a few, who are right to suggest this country's brightest, young prospects are better off heading for other employers, Mourinho does deserve some credit.

While Theo Walcott was, in theory, right to choose Arsenal ahead of Stamford Bridge last month because of Arsene Wenger's faith in youth, Mourinho is sure to have done his best to nurture the Southampton sensation.

Wright-Phillips has endured a torrid time of things since Chelsea paid Manchester City £21m in the summer. The incessant talk of him making a loan move in January highlights the fact.

Yet is that Chelsea's fault? For all the money they have spent on the world's top talent, it is hard to imagine them paying that figure for a player they intended to just seat in the stands. Even Chelsea wouldn't do that.

What the hugely inflated transfer fee did look to have done, though, is completely wash the player's confidence away from him.

That is something he has been searching to recapture. Hence the videos.

So if a player like Wright-Phillips can't get his game on a regular basis for the Premiership's champions then perhaps that is his fault rather than Chelsea's.

Put another way, if he is good enough he will be in the team. Look at Joe Cole.

When Mourinho took over the reins on the King's Road there were constant suggestions Cole, someone who was younger than Wright-Phillips at the time, would be offloaded.

But, despite having to put up with life on the bench initially, a few stern tellings off from the 'Special One' has worked wonders and now he is in the side ahead of Damien Duff.

A place in Sven Goran Eriksson's World Cup squad is all but guaranteed and who would have thought that 18 months ago.

Now it is up to Mourinho to try to ensure Wright-Phillips, who was back to his care-free, attack-minded self in the FA Cup win over Everton in midweek, commands a place as Beckham's right-midfield deputy.

A rollicking worked for Cole, an arm around the shoulder looks like being the desired cure to Wright-Phillips' woeful form.

Football fans up and down the country can recall the sight of the 24-year-old flying down the wing for Manchester City playing with freedom and belief.

For that to continue he needs to improve on the ten matches he has started and the paltry 660 minutes he has spent on the pitch this season - a total he is only likely to improve on from the bench at Middlesbrough today.

But if Wright-Phillips is to convince Eriksson he does deserve to be on the plane to Germany then he will have to convince the Swede he can perform better than he did in one of the darkest days of his England tenure.

In the infamous 1-0 defeat to Northern Ireland at Windsor Park in September, he had to be hauled off after 54 minutes after an ineffectual display when he lost the ball more often than he kept it.

In hindsight that result and performance could arguably have had a detrimental effect on Wright-Phillips' already depleting confidence.

But now, having been put through plenty of his horror shows wearing the Blues shirt, there is a pressing need for him to turn in regular starring roles that would secure his place to the biggest spectacle of them all - the World Cup.