LOS ANGELES – Two captains were traded in back-to-back years, but New York Red Bulls star Bradley Wright-Phillips would still put on the armband if he got the offer.
“I’m not going to lie, I’ve seen a few things on social media, ‘Don’t take the armband!'” Wright Phillips said during Major League Soccer’s annual media day Saturday. “But no, that’s just what happened the last two years. If it got offered to me, I wouldn’t turn it down. It would be a great honor to captain the team.”
The Red Bulls traded former captain Dax McCarty to the Chicago Fire ahead of the 2017 season and recently dealt captain Sacha Kljestan to Orlando City. Yet when pressed about the changes, Wright-Phillips maintained that the moves did not erode players’ trust in the organization or cause any issues within the squad.
“I’m a one-man leadership group,” Wright-Phillips said jokingly. “Whether players leave or not, you still take away some value, not just on the field but in life.
“What we do have is a young group of guys who now have experience because [coach] Jesse [Marsch] plays players when they’re young. It makes it easier.”
As for Wright-Phillips, he still feels young and sometimes forgets he’ll be 33 years old in March. Time is flying by.
“Since I turned 30, it’s just been like this,” he said, quickly snapping his fingers. “Sometimes I wake up and I still think I’m 29. Sometimes they say I’m a senior player or whatever, and it doesn’t register with me.”
How long will he play?
“I definitely don’t want to be on the field looking like a hot mess, falling over or whatever,” he said. “I think I’ll just know.”