The international break couldn’t come at a worse time for Bradley Wright-Phillips with the New York Red Bulls‘ forward on a tear lately.
After leading the team in scoring in the last two seasons, the 31-year-old had just two goals in the first nine matches in 2016, as critics and fans questioned if he was over the hill. The striker has responded in a big way with six goals and an assist in his last five matches in a torrid stretch after a slow start.
With the Red Bulls in the middle of a three-week break for Copa America, Wright-Phillips’ goal-scoring spree is temporarily on hold.
“It’s tough,” he said. “The break is a little annoying not just for me, but the team. But I suppose just trying to start again where we finished. I think we’re on to something the way we’ve been playing, direct and in the other half of the field. It’s working. I think if we can keep that, I think everything else will take care of itself.”
During the break, Wright-Phillips stays away from specialized finishing drills.
“Normally, it makes me overthink, in games is where I try to learn finishing” – times like last week and this week are set aside for working on team chemistry and understanding.” What he calls “the little details.”
With the European Championships starting next week, he will be glued to the television set in the afternoon to watch his home country of England compete in the continental championship. Wright-Phillips represented England at the U-20 level.
He said he will likely go to a bar in Hoboken to watch the match with other England fans. While he watches England in the afternoon at Euro 2016, the former Manchester City man will also be tuning in at night to watch Jamaica in Copa America.
His own international ambitions may not necessarily be over. Wright-Phillips, who has a Jamaican lineage through his grandparents on his mother’s side, has recently been fielding interest from the “Reggae Boyz.” Wright-Phillips hasn’t been linked to the Caribbean giants in recent months, but he signaled interest in playing for Jamaica.
“I just haven’t heard anything, I’ve got to sort out a few things,” Wright-Phillips said. “It is more difficult for me to sort out from over here. I’ve got to get my parents to do one or two more things. But I’ve thought about it, I’m interested. I’m definitely interested. I definitely want to sort out the paperwork I need to sort out so at least the option is there.”
Wright-Phillips admits that even growing up “I watched England, I watched Jamaica.”