The New York Red Bulls today announced that striker Bradley Wright-Phillips has joined after a successful trial period.
Wright-Phillips, 28, has done the rounds in England after playing for Manchester City, Southampton, Plymouth Argyle, Charlton Athletic and Brentford.
The name may ring a bell, remember his older brother Shaun?
Anyway, the younger Wright-Phillips brother will add pace and a direct approach to Mike Petke’s attack as he aims to keep New York pushing forward in the second half of the Major League Soccer season.
Wright-Phillips has scored 80 goals in 302 appearances, not many for a striker you may be thinking. But Wright-Phillips can also play on the wing and in recent seasons with Charlton he’s been in good form in front of goal, scoring 31 times in 87 games for The Addicks.
Red Bulls Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh certainly expects Wright-Phillips so shine in MLS.
Since Bradley’s potential was first recognized by Manchester City and the England’s Under-20 side, he has proved to be a goal scorer of note, whether playing up front or as a winger. We are delighted to sign him. He will certainly add another dimension to our roster with his pace and technical ability.
That’s what the Red Bulls think, but is the jury still out for most soccer fans? Probably. I’ll be very interested to see how he does, his pace and instinctive finishing is top notch but his ability to grab a game by the scruff of the neck is questionable at best.
Like I said, I’m intrigued to see how Wright-Phillips gets on.
Not least because I was constantly nicknamed “Joe Wright-Phillips” throughout my playing days — not because we had similar soccer abilities, trust me, but due to our somewhat similar last names — I’ve always kept a keen eye on Wright-Phillips and his brother Shaun.
Both have had up and down careers, as Bradley became the “Coca-Cola kid” at Southampton, after they won a cash prize from the beverage company to spend on a player. They chose Wright-Phillips and that nickname has stuck down on the South Coast.
But he has also been involved in some unsavory incidents over the years, as Wright-Phillips and Swansea City’s Nathan Dyer were alleged to have stolen a barmaids bag at a nightclub amongst other issues. While Shaun shone at Manchester City but a big money move to Chelsea curtailed his career, after playing for England, and know he plays for QPR.
Anyway, having watched Bradley’s career closely, scoring regularly in the Championship and League One in England was never difficult for him. Coming off the bench and making an impact is also his thing and his step-father, England and Arsenal legend Ian Wright, has certainly taught him how to finish.
Can he cut it with New York? It depends how much playing time he gets with Thierry Henry and Fabian Espindola developing a partnership and the rest of the Red Bulls line up very settled. However Espindola has certainly been goal-shy, with just four goals in 19 games this season.
Wright-Phillips be a great impact player off the bench to nick a late goal. Maybe that’s just what New York need going into the final few months of the season with the playoffs looming.