There was once a time when Wayne Bridge was second only to Ashley Cole as England’s best left-back. In fact there was a time unfortunately when he was also second fiddle to Cole at Chelsea.
It was that experience of losing his first team spot at Stamford Bridge that led him on his next adventure in life; as a loanee journeyman.
After joining Manchester City in 2009 Bridge once again found himself on the side-lines as star name after star name was brought into the fold at The Etihad stadium which led to loan stints at West Ham United and Sunderland for the 36-caps England international.
Therefore he has been making the headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent years; although usually not of his own volition. The John Terry incident was clearly the most famous example of such public spotlight. Nowadays he is more famous for his relationship and recent engagement to Frankie Sandford of The Saturdays.
However this summer at the age of 32 he finally decided to take the plunge and drop down a division and according to his peers he did so with aplomb. He joined former Chelsea player Gustavo Poyet at Brighton and Hove Albion last summer on a 12 month loan deal until the end of the season and has not looked back; with the ultimate accolade being bestowed upon him last night when he was named left-back in the PFA Championship Team of the Season.
So what next for the phoenix career of the former Southampton man?
Well at this time it seems a Premier League return is almost assured. His current deal at Manchester City expires in the summer leaving him free to discuss a deal with another club in little under two months’ time.
His obvious preference would be to earn promotion with Brighton. The Seagulls are assured of a place in the play-offs and after their recent form should be far from discounted.
If they were to achieve their goal a player of Bridge’s calibre and form would be the perfect addition ahead of a Premier League debut.
Then there is the apparent interest from Cardiff City. Finally the Welsh capital club have managed to crack their promotion hoodoo under Malky Mackay and have also been credited with bringing in the experienced full-back; teaming him back up with former Manchester City team-mate Craig Bellamy.
Regardless it seems Bridge will be back in the Premier League again next season and kudos to him for his revival. After his footballing and personal life looked so grim just a few years ago he has come roaring back this year on both fronts and is on the cusp of a potentially career defining season.
What have you made of Wayne Bridges’ season at The Amex?
image: © markusunger