|Desc||From the Hackney Marshes to Highbury Wright’s story is the stuff of fairytales. An all-round, out and out striker Wright scored every type of goal, famously breaking Cliff Bastin’s Gunners record despite spending his first seven years at Crystal Palace. Only Thierry Henry has more in the famed red and white|
|:——————|:———————-| | Org | England National Team | | Club as Player | Arsenal FC | | | Crystal Palace |
2015 08 20 Retrieve
[Ian Wright on Thierry Henry] A footballing monster in respects of ability. He (had) everything
2015 11 28 Retrieve
[on Patrick Vieira] [A] leader and natural-born winner. He has everything you could want from a midfielder. He can attack, defend and score goals. He’s brilliant at taking the ball in tight spots in the middle of the park and starting attacks
2016 02 03 Retrieve
[On Dennis Bergkamp] An amazing player with sublime skill; comfortably the best I’ve played with. Not only did he score brilliant goals, but when he played, those around him scored more
2016 02 17 Retrieve
[on Tony Adams] Captain. A great defender and a great leader. He was so inspirational and was able to get the best out of those around him. Great in the air and not bad on the floor as well; with him around the defence would definitely be organised
2016 02 18 Retrieve
[Quotes on Paul Gascoigne] He had unbelievable ability and he could have won everything if he’d looked after himself. Everything could have been so different if he’d gone to Manchester United instead of Spurs
2016 03 24 Retrieve
[on Alan Shearer] Shearer was the archetypal centre-forward, who could head, shoot with his left and right foot and hold the ball up as well as anybody in the world. He was a heroic type of player too – the one others in the team would look up to
2018 01 06 Retrieve
[Ian Wright talks about Egypt and Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah] I’m not saying he’s as good as who I’m going to say. He reminds me of Messi, the scampering way he plays. He gives me a Messi vibe. He’s short, his style. He’s got a Messi vibe
2018 11 29 Retrieve
[Ian Wright says Red Bulls have a ‘difficult mountain to climb’ against Atlanta] […] a very difficult mountain to climb. We were speaking the other day and he [Bradley] was worried that they [Atlanta] beat them [NYRB] twice in the season and that there was going to be a backlash to that. I was hoping that they were going to manage the game a little bit better, but anything can happen. If they start well and start quickly, the nerves could hit Atlanta.
They [NYRB] are playing at home, they need to fly out the blocks but need to be careful not to leave the back door open. As we’ve seen with Atlanta, they have the capability of hitting them on the break and scoring goals very rapidly. They’ve got no choice simply because of what the score is but it’s going to be very difficult
I do watch a lot of it [MLS]. I try to watch it in passing. I’ve got so much I need to keep in my head because of the Premier League and Championship stuff, but I do obviously make sure I see the Red Bulls games. You get a really good highlights package here now, so you get to see what’s going on. Atlanta’s emergence in the last couple of years is literally phenomenal. The team, the fans – it’s amazing what they’ve done in the last couple of years
2018 12 22 Retrieve
[Jose Mourinho was replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer] We all know Manchester United have quality players. Cardiff could not get close enough to them. That is the Manchester United I expect to see. You expect that attitude and effort. They have the players to do it and they should have been doing it. It is an unbelievable start for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and with the games coming up it could be a good run for Manchester United
2019 06 13 Retrieve
[Ian Wright talks about how he first started as a professional at Crystal Palace, relatively late for a footballer at 21 years of age] I remember incidents when I’d go down for dinner, and I’d get teased for ordering sirloin steak and sauté potatoes and stuff like that. There’d be comments like ‘Do you have steak at home, you don’t even know how to spell sauté potatoes?’. This would be from guys calling me ‘a 20-minute player’. I remember those times. It was really intimidating to the point I stopped coming down
[One specific person, however, started to notice. And it is a person that Wright credits with changing his entire outlook on football, and even life: his manager] Steve Coppell came up to me and asked ‘Why are you not coming down?’. He explained to me why you cannot let people dictate your life to you, and make you feel you have to act differently. ‘What’s the worst that can happen? They don’t like you any more than they do already?’ He was the one that made me realise I want to face that problem. That was the kind of person he was. He always spoke to me in a way where he was telling me something, to do something right
[He is joyously comfortable in himself, and he credits people like Steve Coppell for that] You’ve got to remember, I came in straight off the building site, straight into Steve. He was somebody that obviously recognised I might be able to do something, and he was somebody that was always very strict with me. It was what I needed
He also told me ‘If you don’t know, just ask. Whatever company you’re in, if there’s something you don’t understand, ask’. He gave me that kind of wisdom.
That was the kind of person he was. And I recognised that really early. He was really honest with me. He said to me, when I was having all the problems at Palace early days, ‘Listen, things will change, and you are going to be a big part of what happens here. There are going to be people that will not be here, and you’ll see how easier it will be for you. Like I’m saying to you, trust yourself’
And you know, I was there ‘What are you talking about man?’ But obviously next season, Mark Bright came in with the rest of the guys and made me a component in the team and all of a sudden you see what he’s been saying
[There was a time when he felt restrained on a football pitch, too. That, however, was one reason why he came into the professional game so late] I felt confident to a certain extent, I was playing Sunday morning football and I was doing OK, but every time I went for trials, 12 to 17, [Leyton] Orient and all these places, Charlton [Athletic], I didn’t get into them. My confidence was low. The only football trial I ever got through was Palace. Once I got there, I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to do my thing, I’m going to play how I play’. And I remember, after, the first trial, Steve Coppell spoke to me – because I was trying things; skill; shots from ridiculous distances; scoring goals; going past people – and he said ‘Never change the way you approach a football match’
Coppell always told me ‘They don’t want to lose the ball and have to chase back towards their own goal because people will roast them, so they’re blaming you for not protecting them. It’s natural. Don’t worry about it, but don’t change the way you play. Have confidence in what you do, because what you do is what a lot of people out there can’t do’. He gave me the confidence to make me feel I was the only person out there who could do what I could do
And remember I was going into the professional game, so I’d start a game and it wouldn’t work out so well, then I’d come on for 20 minutes and do well, so they’d say I was a ‘20-minute player’. Of course I had major doubts, thinking ‘This isn’t going to work out’. Remember, when I signed for Palace, it was only for three months. Steve Coppell wanted to sign me for more, but Ron Noades, he genuinely couldn’t afford it to the point where he had to wait to see if it was going to happen for me. Steve Coppell always said it was going to be fine. I wasn’t used to it at all, somebody having total faith in me like my teacher Mr Pidgen, somebody that you don’t want to let down
[He believes Coppell’s influence goes even deeper] He was always hard with me but fair. If I for instance started to get above my station in training, he’d always pull me back, and he’d do it in front of people. It was something I could easily accept, because it was someone who saw me from inception. So he’s the one who moulded me, out of everyone, the one who made me what I am, my work ethic, how I treated people, how I treated trialists
So when people like John Salako came in, he was a nightmare some of the time, shooting and not crossing, then you’d have a go at him, Steve Coppell would be saying: ‘Don’t you remember what was happening to you. Don’t pass that on’. So we made sure we took him in. Steve Coppell changed everything about how I am as a man today
[Dein then helped changed what Wright was as a player, and took another leap of faith in him] David Dein was the one that got that extra 250 over the line. He showed faith in me, right from the start. I remember David Dein saying to me: ‘You are going to be magnificent here. The fans are going to love you, you are exactly what we need’
He used to come in and see us all before a game started, shake everyone’s hand, and would say to me ‘There’s a goal in you’. And he’d say it to me every time, with a smile. He’s somebody I now speak to every day. We text. Any problems I’ve had, I could phone David Dein at two or three in the morning, and he’ll answer the phone. Problems I’ve had in the last five or six years, without David Dein I wouldn’t be where I am today. When you see what David Dein is doing now with the prison system, trying to give people a chance, that’s his whole life. He’s got an MBE, he should be knighted
[It was because of Dein’s intervention that Wright got to learn from two very different managerial and paternal influences: Graham and Wenger] The way Arsene Wenger was, we’re talking about someone who was up there with the very best. He got it down to the fine detail, to the point where he spoke about where your toe should go down in your boot, to play better. He took it to a scientific place, whereas George Graham was very much mental, and carrot and stick
It was like being on a chain gang. ‘You work because if you do, that is what will happen, then you’ll get this’. I remember with George Graham, my league debut at Southampton, I scored a hat-trick. I’m not sure how many Arsenal players on their league debut scored a hat-trick. All he said to me was ‘Well done, good game’. I remember afterwards, the lads, I’d only been around them a week, so they all came over, ‘Brilliant’, ‘Well done’ but ‘Don’t expect anything from him!’
He was that kind of father figure in your life, where you could never please him, but all he’d need to do was look at you and smile, and you’d feel like a million dollars. That’s what some dads are like, and then when you get older you realise why they were doing what they were doing
Whereas Arsene Wenger just wanted to pass on wisdom. He’d talk to you the way your granddad would speak to you in respect of giving you wisdom. You just wanted to please him. Giving you a responsibility about what you do. Two different things, and I needed them both
[He also feels young players in modern football need this kind of greater guidance now, precisely because the game has changed so much from what Wright came into. It actually makes the issue all the more relevant] With the modern player, from the age of eight or nine, they’re in academies, they have all the football kit, they have this regimented way about them, everything is perfect … but if things start going a little bit awry, they’re looking around ‘What’s going wrong here, what’s happening? This isn’t the perfect world, this isn’t right, this isn’t how it’s meant to be’
I think that the modern-day footballer, because everything is given to him, especially if you’re an elite player in the academy, your hardship is going to come when you start playing for a top team, and you get criticism, and people are going at you. ‘Why isn’t this happening for me? Why’s it like this? Why am I getting so much abuse?’ It’s more difficult for them because of the way they’ve been brought through. They’ve been guarded and shielded from the real world, until they get out there, and all of a sudden social media is in your face like you never believe. It’s something you have to deal with there and then, and that’s why you see some of them struggle to deal with it
When they get in touch with me, I tell them exactly what I think. I make sure they know I love them so much, but I’m going to let them know ‘You’re not doing this, you’re not doing that, and the reason is it’s in training, are you doing this, are you doing that, what you doing late at night, are you getting rest?’ I say all that stuff. The lessons have been invaluable
2019 07 31 Retrieve
[South London native, Ian Wright, also spoke to discuss his view of the area in which he grew up] It was vibrant. “I didn’t realise how good it was. We are talking about being brought up in Brockley, but I was able to move down in New Cross, Lewisham, Deptford, Lee Green … you go all around those places to all the different parties, and it was a good time.
It was a good time growing up, even off of my estate there was me and David Rocastle. I don’t know what it is in the water in south London, to bring so many people through. “But I think south London is a hotbed of football, because everybody just played football
2019 10 17 Retrieve
[There have been reports that, should Emery leave Arsenal, Ljungberg could be a serious contender to replace him] All the youngsters you speak to – Joe [Willock], Reiss [Nelson], all the young guys – they’ve got nothing but great stuff to say about Freddie. I’m sure that Freddie, [and] his involvement now with the transition from the academy into the first team, is vitally important.
2019 10 28 Retrieve
[Emery chastised Xhaka in the wake of the game, saying ‘he is wrong’ to react to supporters] He should apologise. That’s the captain. He should have apologised already. [If he apologises] it’s not a case of that’s the end of it, but that’s the guy they’ve chosen as the captain and that’s not captain’s behaviour. Arsenal fans have showed a lot of patience with him and the performances he’s put in. He owes them a lot more than acting like that
2019 10 31 Retrieve
[When asked on who will outlive the other at the Emirates. Would it be Mesut Ozil or Unai Emery] Well hopefully Ozil. He’s already said he doesn’t want to leave. For me, hopefully it’s Ozil
I’m very disappointed to see that [Ozil not in the squad] because I don’t think that Arsenal, when you look at Arsenal’s creative stats, they’re not up there. They’re actually not creating as much and they’re conceding more shots on target. So that says to me you need somebody who’s creative to be playing there
Mesut Ozil is that guy, I don’t know what’s going on with him and Unai Emery, but for me I think this could be the problem for Unai in the end if Arsenal continue to do what they’re doing. They’re waiting for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Pepe, like the other day, to save them. The fact is he should be playing
2019 11 21 Retrieve
[Ian Wright compares one aspect of I’m A Celebrity life to Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal] I don’t think it’s five days yet and I’m already doing the… I’m struggling with eating. When Arsene Wenger first came to Arsenal, we literally changed from eating what we wanted to literally bland, I’m talking bland, food - almost similar
It’s almost taken me back to remembering how bland the food was
There’s nothing more frustrating than when you say no to something and someone continues to ask you. It’s annoying
2020 01 21 Retrieve
[Gunners icon Wright says Arsenal will find it difficult to keep Martinelli] When you see him you can see there is a hunger and a determination about him. I’ve been in contact with him with texts and things, you can see that all he wants to do is do well.
He’s so hungry. I think it’s only Jadon Sancho as a teenager who has scored more goals than him in the top five leagues so he’s somebody that has definitely got something in him.
We’re lucky to have him and if he carries on improving the way he is, then it’s going to be very difficult to keep hold of him.
If they can create chances, the way he moves into the box, he’s going to score goals and that is what we need to concentrate on with Arsenal, scoring more goals and creating more chances
[Wright is not overly concerned by that barren run and hopes that supporters keep faith with those scratching around for form under new boss Mikel Arteta] It’s a worry, when you consider what he does bring to the team, he’s literally the only striker at the club who can play the way he does with his back to goal but you can see at the moment that he doesn’t look like he is going to score.
His away goalscoring record is a little bit of a worry and then you add into that the fact he’s on a poor scoring run, you’re hoping he can get one because what he is contributing to the team, keeping them in that third of the team and linking play, is brilliant but you do need goals.
[Nicolas] Pepe, yes you need more from him in terms of goals because I think his form in taking players on now, he’s getting much better, and I think we’re going to see more from Reiss Nelson, Arteta has a lot of faith in him
I hope we’re going to see more from Martinelli. I think that he’s got to come from the left. Can Eddie Nketiah come in and play with his back to goal? We’re hoping so as he’s been called back from loan and he’s been impressive in training, hopefully he sees enough from him and gives him a go. You do need patience with Lacazette but with Aubameyang missing for another couple of games, the fans are saying we need goals from him, it’s a bit unfair, they’re totally dismissive what he does in holding the ball up for the team and attack teams. He himself will want to score because it will get his confidence going but I think they should have a bit more patience with him for what he does. We need him to be confident, he’s going through a hard time in front of goal
2020 04 11 Retrieve
[Arsenal legend Ian Wright has recently admitted Aubameyang could be playing at a higher level] If you can imagine him in a better team, he would be winning Premier Leagues and vying for places in Champions League finals and I think he deserves that. You don’t see him particularly vocal on the pitch, [no] pointing and screaming, but it’s what he does in respect of his leadership with the goals that he scores. If you take his goals out of that team then they’re in a massive heap of trouble. Arsenal need a few more players to kick in with their form to help him. We’re talking about a goalscorer who is scoring at the rate of a Champions League player, a world-class goalscorer
2020 05 09 Retrieve
[Ian Wright speaks out against the abuse women’s footballers get on social media] It’s a very good product, the women’s game. It needs time to grow. But when you post about women’s football, the abuse and sexism the players get is abhorrent. It’s terrible. With the women’s game I’m going to champion it because I’ve got two girls myself who are looking to play
2020 06 17 Retrieve
[Arsenal centre-back David Luiz was sent off in a one-man horror show at Manchester City after giving away the first goal of the game shortly after being introduced to the action as a substitute. Ian Wright criticised Luiz for failing to deal with De Bruyne’s pass through to Sterling] Arsenal had done well to try to hold off a City side that once they got in their groove, they looked dangerous, it was ominous, you could see that something was going to happen. When you consider where this has come from, how far [the De Bruyne pass] has come from, it is poor from David Luiz. It’s unfortunate because to go in 0-0 would’ve been really good, it would’ve given them a little bit of confidence. But that, for me, you’ve got to attack that, we know that it’s raining, it might be a little bit wet. But a player of his experience should go and meet that, kick that out, he’s got himself in all sorts of problems and got punished for it.