The rave Sunderland reviews over reported Portsmouth, Derby County, Hibernian and Aberdeen target Bailey Wright
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Yet, reports emerged earlier in the week that the Blues joined League One rivals Derby and Scottish Premiership outfits Hibs and Aberdeen in a race to sign the centre-back.
Head coach John Mousinho was quick to address those rumours following his side’s 2-0 victory over Fleetwood on Tuesday, admitting he was unaware of a move.
Wright has been at the Stadium of Light for three years, initially joining on loan in January 2020 before making his switch from Bristol City permanent three-years later.
In that time, the 30-year-old has drawn up plenty of support, none least from Sunderland Echo reporter James Copley, who believed the signing of the defender would be a major capture in League One.
And his bosses have given him plenty of rave reviews in his time at the Stadium of Light.
Tony Mowbray on Wight’s future – January 2023
(Chronicle Live) – ‘I talk to all the players when I feel there are any issues around them.
‘At this moment, Bailey Wright is very much part of our setup and there's an opportunity potentially for him to start this game (against Middlesbrough) depending on whether a scan goes right or wrong for us this afternoon.
‘It's not in my mind to think about Bailey staying or going, and I'm not sure that publicly I want to talk about people's situations. Those conversations between coaches and players are private.
‘What I would say is that if everybody is fit and available in our squad, there is probably an overload of five or six central defenders.’
Mowbray on Wright’s World Cup inclusion – November 2022
(UK Daily News) – ‘I can’t see how they won’t pick him if the manager knows the players. Because whether he’s in the team or not, it’s pretty important to have his character and personality in the dressing room, I would recommend.
‘He’s actually played a few games now, so it’s not like the Australia manager is looking at that and thinking, “He hasn’t played for three or four months, I can’t pick him”. He’s played and the team worked fine.
‘It would be fantastic for him to go to a World Cup.’
Mowbray's praise – November 2022
(UK Daily News) – ‘What kind of person he is, what kind of guy he is.
‘I didn’t get a single knock on my door when he asked me what was going on. He put his head down. I’ve told you in the past that he’s the loudest in the dressing room before a game, even when he is isn’t he going to be a sub and he’s shaking his fists telling everyone what to do really chasing after them.
‘What a guy. And yet he has real competition in his path. The competition is huge but what he brings to the table as a person and as a team player is fantastic for this football club.’
Neil on Wright’s commitment – May 2022
(Sunderland Echo) – ‘Bailey was ill.
‘He had a sickness bug on Thursday and didn’t train, so on Friday, he trained on the morning but we kept him separate from the group.
‘He was literally only allowed to stay in his car on Friday morning, and then when we flew down, we got him a helicopter to bring him down.
‘It’s the measure of the man, isn’t it? To come out and put in a performance like that, winning headers, being aggressive and doing what we did. Fair play.’
Johnson on Wright’s attributes – December 2021
(Chronicle Live) – ‘I've had Bailey now for a number of games both at Bristol City and at Sunderland, and he played half a season for me at right-back at Bristol and performed extremely well.
‘He's a better footballer than people give him credit for, and I think people are seeing that now because he is able to carry the ball and manipulate the ball to provide pockets of opportunity for Pritchard, for Dajaku, and he is also a very, very solid defender.
‘He's as strong as an ox, not much gets past him. He doesn't have the linear speed of a Denver Hume or a Dennis Cirkin (at full-back), but he makes up for that by always being on time with the head and making sure that his opponent always has a really difficult day.
‘I've been really happy with him.
‘Off the pitch, Bailey is such a consistent character - he is so important for the culture.
‘When he gets that run of games, it brings out his best football.
‘He has been asked to be flexible, to be fluid, and to play in a number of positions.
‘I thought he was absolutely outstanding at Cambridge, and since then he has had a couple of games at right-back and that just shows the level of trust that I've got in him.
‘I suppose I do know him more than anybody else, I suppose, on a personal and on a professional level.
‘He can't do any more than he is currently doing, putting himself in the spotlight.’
Johnson on rock solid Wright – October 2021
(Sunderland Echo) – ‘Bailey is a really good footballer.
‘I've always said that when Bailey's body is at its most fluid, you've got a really good footballer there.
‘He's in top shape at the moment and moving well.
‘He's got a really good footballing brain. He might not have the silk if you like but if you look at his decisions based on about 500 passes, they're very good ones.
‘He has that brain, the warrior spirit and his culture setting is really important to us.
‘I was rock solid on that one throughout the summer in not wanting him to leave, and trust me there is no one happier than me that he's playing well.
‘I hope that he's my assistant manager one day. He's actually doing a technical director course, so maybe I can he his Head Coach.
‘As you move in to November/December, you start to think about that (contracts) even more. Of course budgets come into it as well.
‘If the boys are doing well, it's simple.
‘Look at Aiden McGeady. Age doesn't really come into it when you produce to the level he did last season.’
Johnson on keeping Wright – August 2021
(Chronicle Live) – ‘I've got zero appetite to lose Bailey Wright.
‘Bailey has just had a beautiful little baby, and he's only got a year left on his contract and there was interest, so naturally that's going to spark up a thought process about where his future lies.
‘But I've personally been extremely consistent in the desire to keep Bailey.
‘He's got to get in the team and play well, and then hopefully we can extend his contract. It's as simple as that.
‘I've seen the best of Bailey Wright, and obviously we've got to see that as much as possible, and I think we have this season.
‘I think he's had a good pre-season under his belt, a good off-season, and he's worked hard with his injuries.
‘He's trusted as captain of the club.’