Bailey Wright set to follow in the footsteps of Sir Tom Finney

Tom Finney's "Splash"

Bailey Wright will become the first Preston North End player since 1950 to play in a World Cup if he features for Australia.

It's been an emotional year for Preston North End with the passing of Sir Tom Finney on the 14th of February. Although the club couldn't go on to achieve promotion for him, it would be a memorable moment and a poignant one too if Bailey Wright could follow in his footsteps and represent Preston North End at the World Cup.

Bailey Wright is the longest serving player at North End having joined the club in 2009. The centre-back has gone on to establish himself as one of the first names on the team-sheet in the last couple of years, and the North End faithful knew he had what it takes to play for his country.

Despite having never previously received a call-up to the senior national side, Bailey made it into the provisional 30 man squad in May and then into the final 23. He could be set for his debut as Australia take on Chile in their first World Cup game on Friday night.

Earlier on this season Wright played his 100th game for Preston North End and fans will hope the 21-year-old can make many more. The composed defender has already captained The Lilywhites before and the experience gained from a World Cup in Brazil will be invaluable.

Not since 1950 has a PNE player graced a World Cup. Sir Tom Finney played in England's first ever World Cup campaign which is mainly remembered for the surprising defeat to USA.

Australia face one of the toughest groups at the World Cup this summer, along with Chile they will face the 2010 finalists in Spain and Netherlands. If Wright is thrown in at the deep end he will be having to mark Diego Costa and Robin Van Persie.

Speaking ahead of the occasion, Wright told Sky Sports "The last player was Sir Tom Finney and to follow him is something special, Preston is a huge part of my career and it is great to be here for them too, and with a legend like Sir Tom passing away it is that little bit more special."

As well as Tom Finney, Wright will also be following in the footsteps of another Preston legend, Joe Marston. He was the last North End player to play for Australia and the two recently met each other for the first time.

Playing at a World Cup is a special occasion for all players, but if Bailey Wright pulls on that Socceroos shirt and steps onto the pitch in Brazil he will be making history and picking up from where two legends left off. Preston fans will be watching closely and cheering on Bailey all the way, and I am sure Sir Tom will be looking down as well.

 

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