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Who is Bradley Wright-Phillips?

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In versatility's post on Hodgson's statements regarding English players abroad, an English striker plying his trade in New York by the name of Bradley Wright-Phillips was mentioned. Who is he? And can he help England's football team?

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England's football team has seen a fair contribution from the Wright family. Ian Wright was a star striker, first with Crystal Palace, and then Arsenal, where he set a record for goals scored by one player with the club. With England, he made 33 appearances from 1991 to 1998, scoring 9 goals. His son, Shaun Wright-Phillips is fairly well known for his time with Manchester City and Chelsea. Shaun made 36 appearances with England, scoring 6 goals. However, there is another member of the Wright family who has not seen so much success with England or in the Premier League. That would be younger brother, Bradley Wright-Phillips (BWP).

BWP came through Manchester City's youth academy and, after not having a particularly successful stint with the club, jumped to the Championship where he bounced around from team to team, eventually ending up in League One. The striker was a fairly prolific goal scorer, but never seemed to stick with one club.

Then, in 2013, Charlton Athletic, a League One club, released BWP, and a new opportunity came calling. In the fall of 2013, BWP joined the New York Red Bulls in the US and Canada's MLS, in the middle of the club's season. It would turn out that, with BWP in tow, New York won the Supporter's Shield, the award for finishing top of the table in MLS. That was New York's first piece of hardware in their history. While New York hasn't been nearly as good this year, that has been in spite of BWP's contribution. In 23 matches with team, the Englishman has scored 20 goals. He has broken the club record for goals in a season and is well on his way to smashing the league single season goal record of 27, which has stood since the league's beginning in 1996.

So, can BWP help out the English National team? It's hard to say. The biggest knock on BWP is his age. at 29, it is unlikely that he would be able to make it through an entire World Cup cycle. However, Rickie Lambert made it to a world cup at the age of 32, so it might be fair to say that BWP has a chance. BWP also has questions about his ability to translate his MLS play to the international stage. There will be questions on the quality of MLS play, but I've argued before that the North American league is good enough for the international stage. That should be more evident with the consideration that minnows Costa Rica won the group against England, Uruguay, and Italy with a significant number of MLS players. No, the questions come from a huge reason for BWP's glut of goals. BWP's strike partner is Thierry Henry, the man who broke his father's goal record at Arsenal. Henry is tied for most assists in the league, with 11. The real question is whether BWP can succeed in consistently finding the back of the net when he doesn't have the Frenchman there to feed him the ball. That said, I think it would be fair to let BWP get a run in a friendly or a low-stakes international qualifier. If he can perform at the international level, then that would certainly be to the benefit of England.

One final note. MLS is quietly becoming a good place for fairly talented English players who just get lost in the system. Players like BWP, Giles Barnes, and Dom Dwyer have left England after not finding success, be it through injury or other issues, only to find a place in America (or Canada) where they can really show off what they can do. There basically are no other leagues that English players who haven't quite made it are both attracted to and sought after. What's more, MLS is a high enough quality to groom those players into international calibre pros. Perhaps it would be wise for the FA to show some faith and support for those players who are willing to cross the pond to make their careers.