‘I was itching to see if I’d made it’: Wright keen to build on club form with Socceroos'
Having secured Sunderland’s promotion to the English Championship a week ago, Socceroos defender Bailey Wright cannot wait to build on his recent success as Australia approaches the June play-offs.
Wright capped off a fantastic season with Sunderland with a 2-0 play-off final victory at Wembley Stadium only a week ago.
Now the 29-year-old central defender turns his attention to the nation’s forthcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ play-off campaign in Doha.
Wright is one of 29 players set to represent the Green and Gold in the Middle East as Australia’s journey to qualify for a fifth consecutive FIFA World Cup reaches its crescendo.
First up is United Arab Emirates (UAE) on June 8 at 4am (AEST) and if the Socceroos are successful, they will face Peru for a place at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.
While Wright has been in and out of camps during the qualification campaign, he hoped his impressive performances with Sunderland would earn another selection.
“Whenever squad selection comes around, you’re always eager to see if you’ve got a call-up and this time around, I was itching to see if I’d made the squad,” Wright told Socceroos.com.au.
"You always want to be a part of it. Every time a squad comes around, the feeling and the buzz when you get called up never goes away.
“I've obviously been part of camps previously. Some from the beginning, some called in as a player on standby to be a backup when we've had a couple of injuries or suspensions so whatever opportunity you get, it's always special.
For these games coming up, I was itching to be a part of it. I made sure that my club form went well so Arnie would have a bit of a selection headache and now I’m just looking forward to some massive games for us.”
Having made his national team debut in 2014, Wright is no stranger to play-offs with the Socceroos.
The Melbourne-born defender played 90 minutes in both legs of the Socceroos' 2018 Fifa World Cup play-offs against Honduras.
Wright is one of eleven members of Arnold’s 29 man squad selected for the June play-offs that tasted victory in 2018 and he is hoping the Green and Gold can use that experience to their advantage.
“Over the course of your career, you become an experienced player,” Wright explained.
“The way you do that is by going through things like qualifying campaigns, things you go through at club football and high-pressure games. They're the sort of things that develop you as a person and as a player and we certainly have that in this group.
We've got a group of leaders that all compliment each other and lead in their own ways.
“I think that's definitely important coming into these games because if I look back to the way Mile Jedinak led us through the Honduras game, it was important for a lot of us boys who hadn't experienced that.
“For these coming games, we have a good group of boys who were a part of that and have played in many big games.
“We have players who have played a lot of games for the Socceroos and that is important with a blend of young and hungry inexperienced players who can learn a lot from them.”
While Wright secured promotion from EFL League One to the English Championship, a number of other selected Socceroos have recently secured individual and/or club honours.
Ajdin Hrustic became a Europa League Champion with Eintracht Frankfurt while Tom Rogic won the Scottish Premier League with Celtic FC as well as Professional Footballers Australia’s Men’s Football of the Year Award.
Denis Genreau helped fire Toulouse to the Ligue 2 title in France and was also named PFA’s Young Player of the Year while Nathaniel Atkinson featured in the Scottish Cup Final and Joel King was an unused substitute in the Danish Cup Final.
Wright said the recent success of his Socceroos teammates will help to raise the level of competitiveness in camp.
“It's good to see so many boys in good form, playing in important games and winning trophies,” Wright said.
It’s good to see so many having great seasons and doing well because when you come into camp, it just sort of raises things to another level because boys are playing at a high standard and there is competition for places.
“There are so many positives to it, on the pitch and off the pitch. There's a real good feeling around the place when you see someone come in with a real buzz of what they've achieved.