Who Were Ya? Richard Wright
In this section we profile the career of an England international who is one of his few countrymen to lift the Premier League trophy . David Seaman and Joe Hart immediately spring to mind, but the protagonist of this bizarre tale, who was a teammate of the two aforementioned, is none other than Richard Wright.
Someone who has taken a passing interest in football post-2002 may have no idea who this decorated journeyman is, but Wright was once hailed as the brightest goalkeeping prospect in English football. Despite his Premier League medal, his ‘role’ in Manchester City’s 2014 title winning and England’s Euro 2000 squad, Wright is one of many in the early 2000’s crop of England youngsters who failed to live up to their hype.
After securing a UEFA Cup spot with Ipswich in 2001 as a 24-year-old, Arsene Wenger shelled out £2million for Wright , which at the time was a substantial sum for a goalkeeper and he was very much perceived to be a long-term replacement for David Seaman for both club and country.
Wright was flung into the limelight rather quicker than expected after an injury layoff to Seaman and a penalty save on his Champions League and it appeared that the dethroning of the England and Arsenal stalwart was beginning to unwind.
However, the ex-Tractor Boy became the villain as quick as he was hailed as England’s future number one. A 4-2 home defeat to Charlton, in which he haplessly punched the ball into his own net, was soon followed by an error which gifted Spurs a point in the North London derby and to top it off was hauled off for future journeyman Stuart Taylor in a Champions League defeat at Deportivo.
Despite a Premier League winner’s medal in his inaugural campaign , the prophecy that was perhaps a detriment to the young ‘keeper, did not come to fruition. David Seaman outlasted his young prodigy at Highbury, albeit for just another season and Wright signed for David Moyes’ Everton at the end of the 2001/02 season.
After a successful first season with the Toffees which included a 7thplace finish, bad luck plagued the England international throughout the rest of his time at Goodison. After falling from his loft in the summer of 2003 and injuring his shoulder, in his first game back in September he was taken off with a knee problem and went onto to play just four times in the 2003/04 campaign.
Playing a bit-part over the next three seasons, mostly down to injury, Wright departed for West Ham where he made two appearances in the League Cup before moving on loan to Southampton.
A return to Ipswich, where he won Player of the Year on his old stomping-ground and a solitary season at Sheffield United, his path led to the Etihad Stadium and joined Manchester City in 2012 which was believed to fill the purpose of meeting their ‘home-grown players’ quota.
He failed to make a single competitive appearance for City, but much to the bemusement of social media, collected a medal and paraded with the likes of David Silva and Yaya Toure after the club’s 2014 Premier League triumph.
A career path where he was part of two title-winning sides at both sides of his career ,Richard Wright never realised the potential he was bestowed with at the start of his career.