Three-time FA Cup winner Dennis Wise highlighted the magnitude of playing at Wembley Stadium, ahead of Brighton & Hove Albion’s fifth visit to England’s national stadium for this weekend’s semi-final against Manchester City.
Wise lifted the FA Cup trophy twice as captain of Chelsea at the original Wembley Stadium, after also winning the competition with Wimbledon back in 1988 — beating the reigning league champions Liverpool.
The 52-year-old also featured numerous times for England at their national home, and he spoke of the great opportunity to create long-lasting memories that Wembley can provide.
He said, “Playing at Wembley is wonderful, they’re brilliant days. Every time you play at Wembley, it’s for an occasion.
“It’s now an occasion to get into a major final. It’s a lovely place to play and I’ve got great memories of playing their quite a few times and win a few trophies.
“It’s always nice to go there and win trophies. It’s your home country’s stadium, so it’s fantastic to go there for any game.”
The Seagulls take on reigning Premier League champions Manchester City, with a place in the final of the competition up for grabs, and Wise assessed Albion’s chances of pulling off a cup upset.
“There are certain ways you can approach the game — do you allow them to have the ball or do you press them and stop them from having it? You can make them kick it and play your way, but not many teams can do that.
“It’s very difficult to play against Man City — you need them to have a bad day and Brighton need to have an exceptional day to get a result. But anything can happen.
“Who knows what team Man City will go with — they’ve already got one trophy in the bag, have big competition in the Premier League and have a chance in the Champions League.
“This will be their next focus, because it’s another final and trophy at stake, but Brighton will be desperate to upset the odds.”
Wise worked at Newcastle United during Chris Hughton’s time on the coaching staff at St James’ Park, and the former Chelsea midfielder praised the Albion boss for the job he’s done on the south coast.
“I think Chris has done a fantastic job and it’s great to see him doing so well. I knew him when he was at Newcastle and you could always see that he’d go on to be a very good coach.
“You’ve got to be pleased for Chris, he’s a manager that gets on with what he’s got to do and has done it in a really good way with Brighton. He’s created a great group of players that play for him and that’s really important.”