Wright on target in dream debut for Socceroos

Defender Bailey Wright was delighted to score a goal on his Socceroo debut and is hoping to lay claim to a regular starting berth.

Wright capped off a solid performance for the national team with the third goal in Australia’s 3-2 win over Saudi Arabia in London. It was the Preston North End stopper’s first cap for the green and gold.


“I can’t really describe it to be honest,” Wright said.

“I was just happy to be out there and to be part of a winning team. To help out and get on the scoresheet as well was an added bonus and something that I’ll remember for a long time that’s for sure.”

Wright’s goal came in the 77th minute when he slammed the ball home after it had ping-ponged around the box following a free-kick. It was the 22-year-old’s first goal this season.

“I scored four last season so it’s always nice to get a good start and score a goal and to help out on the set pieces,” Wright said.

“It’s not one of my strengths, I’m here to defend, but it’s an added bonus for me. It just dropped for me in the box.

“I wasn’t going to let this one go, even if I had to run it in, rugby-tackle it, it was going in. I made sure of it.”

Wright looked fairly assured in central defence, apart from a few nervous moments, and played out the full 90 minutes.

“It’s a game of football and you have to back yourself,” he said.

“With boys like these that we’ve got in the dressing room and the ones out there, that make you feel comfortable and welcome.

“It’s easy enough to step in, you’re in there rubbing shoulders with some of the big boys and they make you feel comfortable and settle right in and you have to play your stuff, that’s what you’re there to do.

“There’s a bit of pressure in every game you go into. So there was a bit of pressure for us but we got a win tonight and showed people what we’ve been working on is going in the right direction.

“I think we played some really good stuff tonight. At times we made it a bit of hard work for ourselves, which we can see, but overall I think we looked good and played some good stuff.”

There was an anxious final six minutes for the Socceroos, following Taiseer Al-Jassam’s goal to make the scores 3-2, but Wright didn’t put down the shaky ending to nerves.

”Obviously we made a few changes and things change, you adapt and sometimes a little lapse in concentration and things like that and you can concede,” he said.

“It’s important that you learn from it and you take it into your next game that you can’t switch off at any time in a game because no matter who you’re playing, they can hurt you.

“We had a lot of possession and that’s where you need to be careful at times when you lose that possession and they counter.”

Wright is a regular for his club in League One and is hoping he can become a mainstay of the Australian starting XI in the future.

“When I got my chance I was never going to let it slip,” the centre back said.

“I was always going to grab it with two hands.

“You’ve got to be patient and just take things as they go along. Never get too far ahead of yourself and always stay level-headed and continue to do what you do, because that’s what gets you to where you are.”