HANOVER, N.J. – If there is growing interest in Bradley Wright-Phillips, he doesn't know about it.
Nearly a week after New York Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh said that Wright-Phillips had caught the attention of several clubs because of the amount and quality of his goals, the English forward said he hasn't had any discussions about a potential move away from the MLS side.
Wright-Phillips is also apparently not planning to have any, either, because he likes being a member of the Red Bulls and is nowhere near craving a move elsewhere.
“I haven’t seen anything,” said Wright-Phillips, whose 18 goals have him atop the MLS scoring charts and one away from tying New York’s single-season record. “I heard a joke the other day from one of the players, but I didn’t know it was serious. I just thought it was banter. I haven’t heard anything.
“I think this league is good enough. I think this league is very good. I’m happy here. I like it. The weather is good, the training, New Jersey, New York City. I’m not thinking about leaving at all.”
While the 29-year-old striker’s scoring exploits across league matches, friendlies and the MLS All-Star Game have played a major part in his bliss and desire to remain in New York, so too has the style of MLS.
Wright-Phillips said he’s been pleasantly surprised by the league and likes the possession-oriented systems of several clubs, which starkly contrasts to the direct manner that is far too common among teams in the top two divisions of his native England.
That’s not to say Wright-Phillips – who some fans and pundits believe is worthy of a long-term Designated Player deal – had a negative outlook on MLS before signing with the Red Bulls in July 2013. He just did not think the league was so hard-fought.
“When you’re in England, you don’t really get MLS games [on TV],” said Wright-Phillips. “While you’re in England, you think that’s the home of football or whatever, so you don’t look at other leagues. It’s surprised me. Not that I thought it was terrible. I just didn’t think it would be as good as it is.
“It’s a good league, competitive, good teams, some of the teams pass the ball around. A lot of the teams back home, they don’t really try and pass. It’s more about results, just booting it long and getting three points to get into, stay in the Premier League. It’s a lot more enjoyable, I find.”
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Not everything has been peachy for Wright-Phillips, whose next start will exercise an option in his contract that will extend his Red Bulls stay through the 2015 season. He is far from the biggest fan of doing interviews and is not too enamored with how much travel is involved in MLS.
Still, the good largely outweighs the bad, he said, and is plenty pleased to stay in MLS and the Red Bulls for the foreseeable future.
“I didn’t really know anything [about interest in me]. Andy hasn’t said anything,” said Wright-Phillips. “I just come to training as normal. He obviously knows I’m happy here.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by e-mail at Franco8813@gmail.com.