HANOVER, N.J. – It has been three weeks now since Shaun Wright-Phillips, the former English international, has been training with the New York Red Bulls. The older brother of Bradley, a star forward with the Red Bulls and last year’s leading goal scorer in MLS, Shaun is beginning to look like a player who might just call New York his home for a bit longer.
In town for his little brother’s wedding a few weeks ago, Shaun is technically with the Red Bulls to work on his fitness as he is now out of contract after spending last year in England with Queens Park Rangers. But while his future with the Red Bulls remains coy – the club maintains he is just here for fitness – sources tell Metro that the Red Bulls have had discussions with Shaunabout contract details and there is a possibility that he signs this summer.
But for now, Bradley is happy to be with his brother on the playing field again. It has been awhile.
He remembers being with his brother for a season when both were at Manchester City. They lived together then and Bradley recalls the joy when, very rarely, the brothers got on the field together. He was a young player then and his brother had established himself as a rising star for club and country.
“He loves New Jersey, he loves where we are, we have lovely neighbors,” Bradley told Metro. “He loves it, there’s nothing to worry about here. It’s great in the summer, lovely.
“He has really taken to it, he likes it here.”
Off the field, the two brothers enjoy playing Xbox including ‘Call of Duty’ and ‘Mortal Kombat’ – “I don’t like soccer games, I don’t like them. I want it to do what I’m thinking and the computer doesn’t do that” – and just hanging out. They’re close he says and just the opportunity to be with him, spend time walking around the neighborhood, is what matters.
Bradley is low-key. He picks his kids up at school, goes to their plays and is integrated into his quiet neighborhood in north Jersey that is close to the team’s training facility. His brother is the same way and is enjoying the pace of the American lifestyle.
It is a change of lifestyle for the two brothers, who both are well acquainted with the rigors and pressure of English soccer. The press, the fans and the supporter culture can make for quite a volatile mix and the escape to the relative calm of MLS can be appealing. Sometimes going out to eat can be simply a challenge.
Bradley said that Shaun isn’t the only player from England who could find the league appealing.
“Players are always asking me what it is like. People are fascinated by it now, it’s on Sky Sports in England, it is getting better by the day,” Bradley said.“When I first came here, I didn’t know. When I was asked the question, I didn’t have that perception. I was naive, did they have training grounds. And you can imagine how I felt when I saw all this.”
He won’t speculate on his brother’s future and certainly not on him joining the Red Bulls, even as his fitness spell with the team continues. But Bradley was in a similar spot to his brother when he came to the Red Bulls in 2013 on trial.
He didn’t know what to expect of MLS or then head coach Mike Petke. In fact, he wasn’t even sure if there was much of an infrastructure in place around the team.
He was in for a surprise and said his brother Shaun isn’t only impressed with the Red Bulls state of the art training facility and stadium but also something far more meaningful to a veteran player perhaps eyeing the chance to once again suit up with his little brother.
And that’s a locker room that he has taken to. In turn, head coach Jesse Marsch has praised the veteran winger’s presence on the practice field and what he brings to the sessions.
When asked what has stuck out most in his brother’s mind from the past three weeks, Bradley said it was his teammates on the Red Bulls.
“The players, mostly how the boys are. We’re lucky, we have a good bunch of guys here. It isn’t easy to go into any dressing room. The guys have taken to it it,” Bradley said.
“He’s my big brother, I’d love it if he’s here, just staying with me. I just want him around my house because it’s been amazing.”