Growing up on Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula had its challenges for an aspiring Socceroo like Bailey Wright, who is set to debut for his nation on Tuesday morning AEST.
Wright, who was named in the Socceroo squad for the friendlies with Belgium and Saudi Arabia, is set to debut against the Saudis at Craven Cottage.
After being selected in the squad for Brazil a few months ago, the Preston North End defender didn’t get on the pitch at the World Cup.
And he missed out on game time in Liege as the Socceroos went down to a classy Belgium 2-0 on Friday morning AEST.
However it appears his time to shine is now as Australian coach Ange Postecoglou continues to assess his defensive stocks ahead of the Asian Cup in Australia this January.
At 22 years old, Wright is one for the future – and that future can be traced back to his past on the Peninsula of Melbourne, a football hotbed area roughly 50-70 kms from the city. It was a challenging location to be based when chasing a football dream.
“I was with the VIS for two or three years with the state teams - so everything was in Melbourne,” Wright told www.socceroos.com.au
“Living on the Mornington Peninsula, when Dad finished work, he’d be flying to get me to me up there.
“Or Mum would work her way around or there’d be other family, grand-parents. They all helped out and this included buying my boots.
“The hard yards were taken but as a kid you can take them for granted.
“Now you realise, wow, so much running around for me. They supported me to give me my best chance to make it.”
The powerfully built defender, who joined Preston in 2009, could’ve been lost to football, though.
“Most of my mates played AFL in my school. Our school soccer team wasn’t very good so I played AFL because it was a higher level.
“But now it’s changed a lot and soccer is doing well – especially on the Peninsula.”
Many games for young Bailey were also in the west of Melbourne which was even further. But his father Andy, himself a former state league defender with Frankston City, was always ready to help his son’s dream while working in days in the construction industry.
“I had my Dad as a coach when I was younger and always had his support. He never forced me into what I should do and always guided me along.
“He was a great coach and my whole family were really good in supporting me, running around getting me to games. We all know what the traffic is like; it can be a nightmare at peak hour.”
Naturally, it will be a proud moment for the Wright family when their son finally makes his debut for the green and gold at the home of Fulham FC.
“Anything with this badge on it is pretty special. The colours mean a lot to you as a kid. To have a chance to pull it on with your name and badge … I can’t really describe that feeling,” added Wright.
He should have a chance to describe the feeling when the Socceroos face Saudi Arabia on Tuesday morning AEST.
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