Unable to gain consistent first team action, the trio of players have stagnated over the past few months, to the detriment of not only their own careers, but the English national team as well.
Milner was a consistently strong performer for England leading up to his move from Villa, a player who could be relied upon to put in a steady shift- if admittedly, little else. Wright Phillips, the weakest of the three, was always guaranteed to make at least the bench for England, and at the start of the season, Adam Johnson looked to be a man ready to fire England to Euro 2012.
Falls in grace have followed their patchy seasons though, with Johnson and Wright Phillips almost totally usurped by Young and Downing, while Milner has fallen behind Theo Walcott in the race to earn Fabio Capello's starting nod.
However, this summer there could be some light at the end of the tunnel, as a transfer carousel prompted by high profile signings in Liverpool and Manchester has begun to pick up a little velocity. Charles N'Zogbia's impending exit will open a wing spot at Wigan, while Aston Villa may still be in search of wide men, even if former Newcastle player N'Zogbia is signed.
Jolean Lescott too, is another victim of the City curse, he signed from Everton for big money several years ago, only to see Vincent Kompany and Kolo Toure take over as the preferred center back pairing. Only a couple of weeks ago, young Slovenian defender Stefan Savic was signed from Partizan Belgrade; a move which shows how little patience Roberto Mancini has for Nedhum Onuoha. Loaned out to Sunderland last season, Onuoha excelled under Steve Bruce, yet is still unable to break into the City side.
With Kolo Toure set to return next season, the sole man left to wave the English flag at the back could end up being Joe Hart- a Savic, Toure, Kompany, Zabaleta back line is certainly not out of the question.
In fact, if things continue to go in the direction they have been heading, City could find themselves with Hart as the only Englishman in their starting line-up, though even that might not last long; Hart's form over the last few months of 10/11 was alarmingly inconsistent.
The constant rotation of ranks at City has left more than a few lost at sea, let's hope for England's sake that Richards, Lescott, Johnson, Onuoha, Milner and Wright Phillips all know how to swim.
What is the best option for City's forgotten men?