Hibs winger Drey Wright speaks on injuries, Martin Boyle inspiration, preferred position and his father's influence

Hibs winger looking forward not back
Drey Wright has had his fair share of injuries but insists he's proud to have overcome themDrey Wright has had his fair share of injuries but insists he's proud to have overcome them
Drey Wright has had his fair share of injuries but insists he's proud to have overcome them

Sanguine would be an accurate description for Drey Wright's attitude to the two serious injuries he has suffered in the last five years.

The new Hibs winger was sidelined for nine months after sustaining cruciate ligament damage playing for previous club St Johnstone against Kilmarnock in November 2018 - his second such injury to the same knee – but the attacker isn't bemoaning his bad luck, instead choosing to tread the path of optimism.

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Speaking on a Zoom press conference call, the 25-year-old called the recurrence "unfortunate".

"I've done my cruciate twice in my other knee, but it's not something I look back on,” said Wright. “When I did it the second time, I hadn't had a problem with it for four years. I don't think it was a case of doing it the first time warranted the second one.

"It was just one of those things; my studs got caught in the ground. It could happen to anybody.

"There are a lot of players I have played with, and watched on the TV, that have had the same injuries and still played at a really high level. I can take something from those guys and know that it's not too difficult to get back to that."

Wright is in good company at Easter Road, with fellow wideman Martin Boyle suffering a similar set-back with his knee.

“Martin's a great example right here on my doorstep now," Wright says.

"I was at St Johnstone when he came back from his second one, and he was a massive player for Hibs again, as he has been for a long time now.

"I have spoken to him a few times about his injury. We were obviously in a similar boat."

A friendly rival for that right wing berth?

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"I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite position, it's just somewhere that I can play. I’m more than happy to play a number of roles, I have done throughout my career.

"Even last season, a few times [St Johnstone] went 3-5-2 and I played at wing-back.

"When the manager picks his team and his system, hopefully I’ve done enough to warrant a place in the side."

Wright returned to the Saints team in August last year, just missing out on the dramatic 2-2 draw at Easter Road, but building up some much-needed gametime as he worked his way back to full fitness.

"When I first started making appearances again last year, I didn’t want to put any pressure on myself.

"Having had the injury before, I knew that it would take some time to get back to those levels, just in terms of sharpness and match fitness.

"It will take time, you will have bad days and good days."

Wright completed two-thirds of the first game back after the winter break - a 1-0 win at Aberdeen - and played the full 90 minutes in St Johnstone's last five matches before the coronavirus pandemic brought the curtain down on the 2019/20 season in mid-March.

The Perthshire side were unbeaten, recording three wins and three draws, including a share of the spoils against Rangers and a 1-0 win against Livingston in which Wright laid on Callum Hendry's winner.

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"From after the winter break, I did feel I was putting in some performances that I know I’m more than capable of doing on a consistent basis," he said.

"That was my strength when I first came up to St Johnstone, and I feel like I’m in a good place at the minute."

Wright also has the prospect of a Scottish Cup semi-final with Edinburgh rivals Hearts on the horizon.

"That would be the biggest game of my career. Initially I was under the impression I’d be cup-tied, but I've heard I'll be able to play in it. It would be a huge game for us."

Speaking of huge games, father Jermaine Wright was a member of the Ipswich Town side that triumphed in the First Division Play-Off Final against Barnsley in front of 73,000 at the old Wembley in 2000.

"My mum seems to think we are very similar. At the height of his career, he was a right midfielder too," Wright explained.

"But watching the clips he sends me from his playing days, we’re very different players.

"My little brother [Diaz, currently on Colchester's books] and I would always go into training at whichever club he was with at the time.

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"We would just kick a ball between ourselves and the team would come out of their session and have a little kick around with us.

"It's always been in our lives to play football. Not that dad ever pushed us, it was always down to us.

"But I’ve taken a lot from him and he’s always at the other end of the phone for advice, which is always good to have in our corner.”



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