Bailey Wright experienced his first competitive matchday with the Socceroos last Friday against Chile, and the young defender was delighted to be a part of it.
Though Bailey didn’t get on the pitch at the Arena Pantanal, the 21-year-old made sure he made the most of the experience regardless.
“When I was in that stadium for the game against Chile, that’s when it really sunk in that you’re in Brazil and you are at the World Cup.
“I really enjoyed it, at the start with the teams and the national anthems and everything, you got goosebumps, the atmosphere was ridiculous and something I definitely won’t forget.
“There was people everywhere, the place was rocking and I just thought wow this is the World Cup. I remember when I was a kid, getting up at stupid times in the morning watching stuff like this and now you’re a part of it, you’ve got to pinch yourself and sort of think is this a dream or is this really happening.”
The Australians are in a tough group alongside Chile, Netherlands and Spain, but Bailey and his teammates are remaining positive about their chances in the tournament.
“Obviously we didn’t win the game against Chile but we are staying positive. We know we have a really tough group but there were a lot of positives to take from the game on Friday and we are all really up for the game against the Dutch.
“Obviously I don’t know if I will get a chance to get on that pitch, but the thought of playing against some of those players is sort of hard to believe. They are world class players playing in the best leagues week in week out.
“It means a lot for me to be here, and obviously I would love to be able to get on that pitch at some point during the World Cup, but the experience itself is unbelievable.”
When Franjic was injured in the opening minutes of the second half, Bailey made sure that he was prepared to come on should he be called upon by the manager.
“I don’t know how close I was to coming on, but I saw someone went down injured, and just went to get myself warmed up. You never know when you might be called upon and so you need to always be ready in case you get that chance.
“The whole experience, playing for your country is something that I always dreamed of as a kid, getting to meet all the boys here, some of them I was even watching when I was younger as a teenager, I watched them thinking they were heroes and legends to me.
“Now I’m training with them day in day out, it’s all pretty special. Just representing your country in a World Cup, that is one of the biggest achievements you could ever have as a footballer.” Added Wright.
“It’s probably one of the biggest sporting events in the world, along with the Olympics, they are probably the top two, so to be a part of something like that is something special and especially with it being in Brazil.
“Football is massive over here, and growing up as a kid I used to love to watch Brazil play and never thought I would have got the chance to come here and actually play football here, there’s so many things that you have just got to enjoy and make sure you don’t take them for granted.”
Bailey and the Socceroos will play their second match of the tournament later today against Netherlands, they kick-off at 5pm at Estadio Beira-Rio.
You can download your Bailey Wright wall poster and facemask here as North End get behind the club’s first World Cup representative in 56 years, and don’t forget to send your pictures to us of you supporting
Bailey throughout the World Cup.
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