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The Curious Case Of Bradley Wright-Phillips: From Little Brother To The Big Apple

The Curious Case Of Bradley Wright-Phillips: From Little Brother To The Big Apple
By Jack Cahill
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It’s all coming up Milhouse for Bradley Wright-Phillips.

New York Red Bulls won the New York derby yesterday with a 4-1 win over New York City FC. Stealing the headlines after bagging a brace was Wright-Phillips.

The 31-year-old has now scored eight goals in his six career games against New York City FC. NYCFC have managed just five against Red Bulls in that same time period. But it wasn’t always like this for the son of Arsenal legend Ian Wright.

In fact, Bradley Wright-Phillips is a name that draws derision from many an English-league football fan. Usually prefaced by, “Oh yeah, Ian Wright’s son?” or “Shaun’s shit little brother you mean? I wonder what he’s doing now?” Although they may be imagining a bit part role in Carlisle United’s relegation scrap or some kind dodgy sales job that involves cars that have been in accidents, Bradley is living the American dream playing soccerball and regularly outfoxing goaltenders to shoot awesome soccergoals.

But Bradley didn’t always live in these heady days of Americanisms, from his youth he lived in the immense shadow of his father and the impressive yet admittedly less immense shadow cast by the diminutive Shaun. It didn't help that to all he appeared to be a thoroughly untalented footballer, something which would initially prove to be a stumbling block during his career as a footballer.

Early Career as 'The Coca-Cola Kid'

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Bradley Wright-Phillips had a thoroughly underwhelming time in England. He began his career at Manchester City and was actually the top scorer for their reserve team in the 2003-04 season. He scored his debut goal for the senior team in the same year, coming on as a substitute against Middlesbrough and scoring after just 4 minutes.

From there, Wright-Phillips’ career took headed in a decidedly downward direction, definitely.

After an increasingly frustrating spell with City during which he scored just 2 goals in 40 appearances for the senior team, Wright-Phillips was shipped off to Southampton for £500,000. Oddly, half of that fee was paid for by Coca-Cola, after a Southampton fan won a competition aimed towards winning cash for your club.

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Once again he scored on his debut and went on to score 25 goals in 121 appearances.

Rebel without a clause  

In 2008, Wright-Phillips and Southampton teammate Nathan Dyer were accused of stealing money and phones from staff in a Southsea nightclub, something which CCTV appeared to confirm. Both were arrested and charged and while Dyer was handed community service, Wright-Phillips pleaded not guilty and the case was eventually dismissed as there was insufficient evidence. Ian Wright condemned his son's behaviour as 'disgraceful'.

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Just one year later, Wright-Phillips was arrested once again, this time for allegedly assaulting a Southampton fan after a night out. The fan claimed he was attacked by Wright-Phillips and his teammate David McGoldrick. No charges were brought against either and once again Wright-Phillips managed to fight the law and win, fully ignoring The Clash in the process.

On top of his trouble with the law, Southampton were relegated to League One at the end of the 2008-09 season and Wright Phillips was released. Bad times for the lad.

Wright-Phillips was snapped up by the illustrious Plymouth Argyle where he was racked by injuries. Despite that he made 37 appearances scoring 17 goals, not overwhelming, not underwhelming, just... whelming.  He moved on to Charlton where he scored 31 goals in 87 appearances, numbers not to be scoffed at but also numbers not to be called into the Premier League with it seems.

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In fact, so whelming was his career deemed to be, he was loaned out to Brentford for the final half of the 2012-13 season. He managed to score 5 goals in 17 appearances before the New York Red Bulls came down from on high and declared that Bradley would be their new super soccer shooting star.

Resurgence 

In his fist full season for the Red Bulls, he equalled the scoring record in the MLS for most goals in a campaign with 27. That's a bit like saying you hold the record for most cream crackers eaten in a day in Belarus. It's impressive but when you get down to it, nobody really cares.

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Well, American football (soccer) fans certainly seem to. Bradley has become a one of the faces of the American revolution in football. He immediately helped his new club to win the MLS Supporters' Shield before equalling the league's all-time scoring record in the following season.

He became the first Englishman to score a hat-trick in a 4-0 win over Houston Dynamo. His second came against rival club New York, something which will always endear you to your club.

In his second season he scored 17 goals in 34 league games. This season he has 10 goals in 15 league games and managed to set an MLS record by scoring a hat-trick in the first 27 minutes of the game against Toronto in May, the game was also his 100th appearance for the Red Bulls.

 

Shaun Wright-Phillips had a good career at the top level with the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea while lil' bro Bradley got in trouble with the law and waded through the lower leagues. It could be argued that he has surpassed his brother by finding this level of success in the MLS. By all accounts, Bradley Wright-Phillips should have faded into obscurity after a mediocre and often poor career in England but here we are watching him light up the MLS, and at 31-years-old he has a good 10 or 11 years left in him...

He's come a long way from 'allegedly' pilfering Nokia 3210s and cigarettes from purses in English nightclubs and now he can finally revel in shining brightest in a family of stars. I'll just leave this here. 

 

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