Bradley Wright-Phillips has revealed how goal-scoring tips from his legendary dad Ian Wright led to him enjoying a fruitful career in the MLS.
The striker says his father and mentor gave him the best bit of advice he has ever been given when it comes to finding the net.
Wright Snr is a former Arsenal and England star who scored goals for fun on a machine-gun-like regular basis. He is second in the Gunners’ all-time record goal scoring chart behind the iconic Thierry Henry.
Henry leads the way for Arsenal with 228 goals in 377 appearances, while Wright scored 185 in 288 games. And when BWP (as he is knowN) went through a shot-shy period of his game, he turned to his dad.
That simple piece of advice did the trick, and how. He has struck 84 goals in 134 matches for the NYRB, currently sixth in the standing in the MLS Eastern Conference.
And the striker goes in search of more goals when his side host rock-bottom DC United at on Wednesday night (UK, Thur 00.30) at the Red Bull Arena.
But not before revealing those wise words that led to such a flourish in front of goal. He said: “His advice took the pressure off. As a young striker you’re desperate to score with every shot. It’s how you measure yourself and it can weigh on you when it’s not going right.
“But he told me, all the time, ‘don’t worry about scoring. Don’t worry about hitting the net, just hit the target’. And it works. When I don’t think about the ball hitting the back of the net, and just focus on hitting the target, it tends to go in.”
BWP, brother of former Manchester City and Chelsea ace Shaun Wright-Phillips (SWP — the ex-England international currently plying his trade with Phoenix Rising FC), says he is acutely aware of just how different the forward’s role is compared to his team-mates’ duties.
He added: “I’ve always been a striker. I’m not a deep thinker about the position, but I do know it’s different. You have to be a lot more patient up there. You’re not going to see the ball as much as you’d like. But you have to stay sharp. You always have to be ready. Concentration is the key, especially when you’re on your own up there.
“When you’re in midfield, you can go hunt the ball and get some touches. But up front, you’ve always got your back to goal. You’re always under pressure. And when I get a chance at the ball, I like to try to make up for all of it, for getting bullied and kicked for 80 minutes by those big defenders. It’s a whole different game up there.”