Daniel Wright: I like it when people say I'm too small

Tuesday 05 May 2015
England U17s midfielder Daniel Wright
Perhaps the all-black boots he wears are a giveaway to his character, but after being told he was too small for most of his life, Daniel Wright relishes proving his doubters wrong.

The 5ft 6in midfielder is in Bulgaria as one of the 18 members of the England Under-17s squad that are preparing to kick-off the European Championship against Italy on Thursday.

Italy v England

UEFA European U17 Championship
Group D
5pm, Thursday 7 May 2015
Lazur, Burgas, Bulgaria
Live on Eurosport

Sunderland youngster Wright will face heavy competition for a spot in the Young Lions midfield, but battling is something he has come accustomed to as he attempted to forge a career in the game he loves.

“I like it when people say I’m too small because I love proving them wrong,” said the South Shields-born Wright.

“When I was younger playing for boys clubs I had that a lot. It didn’t get me down, it just made me more determined to prove them all wrong.”

He has certainly gone some way to doing that already by earning a chance to impress at the Euros, and he is eager to make the most of his opportunity – especially as it was only injuries that presented him an opening into the squad at the Elite Round Qualifiers.

“I was obviously a bit disappointed not to be included in the squad, but when I was given the chance and called up from the standby list I had to make sure I took the opportunity.

“I was a bit lucky to get the chance in the qualifiers, but I think I did all right and proved I deserved to be here.”

Although he impresses with his work-rate and ability on the pitch, Wright often stands out from the crowd due to his footwear. 

Daniel Wright in action for Sunderland

Daniel Wright, left, in action for Sunderland

In an age where players have boots in a wide range of bright colours and fancy patters, the Wearsider is happy enough with his old-school style.

“Aye, I think I’m the only one who wears all black boots,” he said with a grin. “I have to wear them at my academy, so I just do it here as well.

“People see black boots and think 'hard-working' and '100 per cent-ers', and I’d like to think that was me too.”

But do not be mistaken for thinking Wright as a spoiler on the pitch. He has chipped in two goals and several assists throughout the campaign for England this year, and his attacking threat is something he has been working on.

“I think I’m positive when I play and I’ll always give my best in every training session. I like to get forward, but I know my role really well when I’m asked to sit," he said.

“I’ve been working on my finishing back at the club and it’s starting to come off a bit in games. I’ve done a lot of shooting drills, practising my close-range finishing and long-range, I’ve been working on it all.”

And so to Italy, who Wright admits will provide England with a “very tough” opening game.

He said: “We are all really positive and believe we can do well. We have to make sure that we keep the momentum going.

“We all trust each other with the ball and know what we can all do. We have to stick together.”

England U17s’ opening European Championship match with Italy will be live on Eurosport, kick-off 5pm UK time, on Thursday 7 May.

You can keep updated with all the latest news from the camp in Bulgaria by following @England on Twitter.

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer In Pomorie, Bulgaria