With the World Cup set to kick-off on Thursday, Preston North End’s Bailey Wright has spoken to PNE.Com about his feelings with regards to representing the Socceroos.
The 21-year-old and his team-mates get their Group B campaign underway at 11pm on Friday night in the Arena Pantanal against Chile, and Wright has been reflecting on a whirlwind few weeks for the central defender.
In an exclusive interview with PNE.Com, Wright said: “I’m extremely proud and honoured to be representing this beautiful country and it’s something that I’ve always dreamt to be able to do.
“There’s a lot of hard work to go but it’s a massive reward for all the hard work I’ve put in so far, but it’s also credit to all of my friends and family who have put the effort in for me as well along the way.
“I’m proud to be able to do it, not just for myself, but for everyone else as well who has helped me.
“They’ve loved it,” continued Bailey, when asked how proud his family were of his rise to stardom.
“They’ve probably enjoyed it as much as I have, if not more.
“It’s all happened so quickly for them, and I think they’re still not used to seeing my face pop up on the news and being in the squad and stuff like that so often in Australia.
“They’re all pretty excited by it all and they’re loving the ride so far and they’re looking forward to getting over to Brazil and watching.
“My mum, dad, and girlfriend are all heading over.
“All my family would have loved to have come over but it’s not so cheap to get over and it’s a long way to get here from Australia, and the World Cup’s not the cheapest thing to experience.
“They’d all love to be here but unfortunately they can’t, they’ve got kids, jobs and commitments of their own, so they’ll be watching it on TV.”
Wright is the only member on the Socceroos 23 man squad who has not won full international honours yet, and his first meeting with manager Ange Postecoglou only occurred when he touched down back home to be a part of the 30 man training camp.
But now he is training with the likes of Tim Cahill, Mile Jedinak and Mark Bresciano on a daily basis, and Wright feels he is learning every day.
Speaking of his initial arrival, Bailey said: “I landed at six in the morning so got straight to the hotel and got there just in time for breakfast, so I got in, and everyone was sat at the table waiting, so that’s when I met everyone and had a little chat with the manager, and they welcomed me here and then we just got on with the business.
“So it was just a few words, a welcoming and a congratulations, and I got a feel for what everything was about.
“People like Tim Cahill, Mile (Jedinak), and Mark Bresciano, they’ve played at the highest level and they’ve done that for many years.
“Tim’s career speaks for itself with what he’s done in England and what he’s now doing in America.
“He’s a really nice guy, and I learn stuff off him every day, not just on the pitch but off the pitch as well, and Mile who’s a top captain.
“I’ve never met either of them before, but the experience they give to the young lads and how professional they are and how serious they are, but at the same time they can have a laugh and a good joke with you.
“But ultimately you’re there to do a job, so for me to rub shoulders with people like that and picking stuff up from them in training, whether it be big things or little things, it all makes a difference at the end of the day.
“You can learn from any player no matter what level they’ve played at, but it’s even better with those who’ve gone and done it at the highest level.
“Mile is a captain in the Premier League with Crystal Palace, they were one of the toughest teams to beat in the second half of the season, so that should tell you enough about how much you can learn from a man like him.”
Australia have a monumental mountain in front of them to make it out of Group B, a task which makes scaling the Corcovado Mountain look like walking over a speed bump.
But the PNE No.6 is hoping that his side have the ability to cause shockwaves around the World Cup, and he is personally fuelled by the wonderful backing he has received since his call up.
“A lot of people are doubting us and saying we’re never going to get out of the group and things like that, but a lot of people don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes and what sort of work is being put in here and how prepared the boys are,” added Wright.
“That’s fine if people want to write us off and not expect too much off us, but we’re expecting a lot off each other that’s for sure.
“It’s been really good to read the comments and it’s nice for people to have positive opinions of you.
“I feel that I’m well liked and come across well, so it’s nice to be appreciated and it means a lot to me.
“A massive part of me is to not just do things for myself but to do things for those that support me, and it’s nice to hear and get nice comments.”
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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