The New York Red Bulls star's all-round performance in the weekend's 2-0 win over D.C. United conjured memories of the departed Arsenal legend.
With Thierry Henry now gone, Bradley Wright-Phillips showed on Sunday evening that he’s ready to be the main man for the New York Red Bulls, grabbing a goal and assist in a 2-0 win over rivals D.C. United.
His contributions to the three points were enough to see the striker named MLS Player of the Week and, following a 2014 campaign that saw him tie the league’s single-season scoring record with 27 goals, it looks like this term is going to be another fruitful one.
Wright-Phillips and Henry enjoyed an outstanding partnership throughout 2014, as the Frenchman provided his fellow front man with numerous assists during the club’s run to the Eastern Conference Championship.
A 4-3 aggregate defeat to the New England Revolution would result in an offseason of upheaval, however, as new Sporting Director Ali Curtis fired popular head coach Mike Petke, and big-name stars Henry and Tim Cahill both departed.
With all the change around him, a fair few expected Wright-Phillips to come back down to earth in 2015 but the initial signs have instead shown a player who is becoming much more than just a goal poacher.
In the win over United, the Englishman also recorded four key passes, 40 touches and 30 passes for a 90 per cent completion rate, with teammate and compatriot Lloyd Sam even moved to compare him to the departed Henry.
“He is looking like Thierry,” Sam told Empireofsoccer.com. “He didn’t want his name said in the same [sentence] but he set up three great chances for me and done well.”
New head coach Jesse Marsch also added in his post-match press conference: “With all the players, we’re trying to get them to rotate and move in ways so that they’re not just standing next to defenders the whole game.
“For Bradley, the combination of coming deep, going wide sometimes, working off of defenders’ shoulders, and then making slashing runs and being in front of the goal so that he can be available to finish plays.
“Bradley’s going to score goals. Is he going to get to 27? That’s a big number to get to. I know he’s going to score goals and the team’s going to be able to score goals.”
Nevertheless, despite conjuring memories of Henry, Wright-Phillips has been quick to silence any comparisons to his former strike-partner.
“Don’t even mention my name next to his,” he said after the match. “He is [on another level].”