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Sunderland: Kevin Phillips salutes ‘leader’ Bailey Wright

Sunderland: Kevin Phillips salutes ‘leader’ Bailey Wright - League One

Former Premier League Golden Boot winner Kevin Phillips has compared Bailey Wright to Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk after his performances for Sunderland. 

The Black Cats have started the new League One season in good form and Wright, who has been a key performer for the Wearside club this term, sealed a permanent move to the Stadium of Light in the summer after an initial loan spell from Bristol City.

Featuring seven times for Sunderland in the league already this term, Wright has been responsible for a solid defence, helping Phil Parkinson’s side to five clean sheets thus far.

What has Phillips said about Bailey Wright?

Former Sunderland striker Phillips has assessed Wright’s performances for the club, telling Football Insider that his ‘influence’ on and off the pitch is playing a key part in the Black Cats’ good run of late.

“He’s been a great signing,” Phillips said.

“I was at the Oxford game where he got injured and was out for a period and I said straight away, he’ll be a big loss.

“Not just that but in the dressing room during the games.

“I don’t know the player, but I just get the feeling that he’s a leader and a voice in the dressing room.

“Sometimes the manager can only say so much and then you want of your senior experience players to pipe up and put a few people in their place and give encouragement and be a leader. He seems like that.

“The stats just show what an important player he is. He’s almost to Sunderland what van Dijk is to Liverpool at the moment with those incredible stats.

“It’s important he stays fit throughout the season.”

Do Wright’s statistics back up Phillips’ Van Dijk claim?

Prior to today’s game against Portsmouth, the Australian international had won 1.2 tackles per game, whilst also securing 0.7 interceptions so far this term.

Gaining a WhoScored average of 7.20 out of ten for his performances this season so far, Wright has in fact managed to secure a better rating than Van Dijk from the website, whose five games in the Premier League this term have seen him earn an average rating of 6.12.

Of course, Wright has a long way to go until he can be considered on a similar level to Van Dijk, but Phillips’ comments indicate just how crucial the Australian is to Phil Parkinson’s team as they chase promotion in 2021.

Do you think Wright is Sunderland’s best summer signing? Let us know your views in the comments section below…

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Article title: Sunderland: Kevin Phillips salutes ‘leader’ Bailey Wright

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