Bradley Wright-Phillips has scored 42 goals in 65 league appearances since signing for Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls in 2013.
Wright-Phillips’ 2014 season, in which the son of legendary Arsenal striker Ian Wright tied the single-season league record with 27 goals, was so good that a handful of folks wondered aloud, “Might Roy Hodgson, desperate for goalscorers, pick him in his 2014 World Cup squad?” That, of course, didn’t come to pass — nor was it every going to happen.
A London-born boy who bounced around the lower divisions of England’s football pyramid before arriving in North America, Bradley, the younger brother of former Manchester City, Chelsea and England winger Shaun, was a virtual lock to never feature for a senior national team at any point during his playing career (he was capped five times by the England U-20 team in 2005).
That was until the Jamaican Football Federation (JFF) decided that, due to his proximity by playing in MLS and Jamaican lineage traced back to one of his grandmothers, the 30-year-old striker is a must-have addition ahead of Jamaica’s ongoing 2018 World Cup qualifying run.
Roy Simpson, a member of Jamaica’s coaching staff, confirmed over the weekend that not only has the JFF reached out to Wright-Phillips, but that he was somewhat receptive of the idea — quotes from the Jamaica Gleaner:
“Yes, we have reached out to Bradley Wright-Phillips.”
“Both parties agreed that it is OK to pursue the paperwork, just in case he decides to take up the offer.”
According to the Gleaner report, Wright-Phillips is lukewarm on the idea of playing for Jamaica, though as the next World Cup draws nearer and nearer, that could easily change. Kemar Lawrence, Jamaica’s starting left back, is Wright-Phillips’ Red Bulls teammate and is said to be assisting in his recruitment. Wright-Phillips would join the likes of Giles Barnes and Simon Dawkins to have come to MLS and used their Jamaican roots to switch allegiances from England to Jamaica, should he choose to do so. It’s been a successful recruiting strategy thus far for the Reggae Boyz, so don’t expect it to cease anytime soon.