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Just the start for Wright

PUBLISHED: 21:33 15 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:50 06 July 2010

RICHARD Wright may be 14 years into his career - but the goalkeeper says this season is just the start for him.

The 31-year-old made his debut for Ipswich back in 1995 as a 17-year-old and following international recognition went on to play in the top flight for Arsenal, Everton and West Ham.

RICHARD Wright may be 14 years into his career - but the goalkeeper says this season is just the start for him.

The 31-year-old made his debut for Ipswich back in 1995 as a 17-year-old and following international recognition went on to play in the top flight for Arsenal, Everton and West Ham.

It never quite happened in the Premiership for the often unfortunate local lad though and eventually he was welcomed back to Portman Road with open arms this time last year.

Many in football will have viewed it as a reluctant resignation from Wright that his natural level is in the Championship.

However, the ambitious shot-stopper is only just coming into his prime years as a goalkeeper and refuses to admit that his best football is behind him.

“I really enjoyed my football last year and winning awards from the club was fantastic, but this is just the start for me,” said Wright, who was awarded both the players' and supporters' 'Player of the Year' award last season.

“My focus is on playing every single game this season and getting Ipswich promoted. I think some people in football take their position in the team for granted, but I can't do that - especially as a goalkeeper where there is only one spot for you.

“If you look at the way we train there's an intensity. Everyone out there is desperately trying to fight for their places. The manager is not worried if you're a long standing player and everyone wants to stake their claim.”

Wright's renewed vigour for the game was clearly evident at Ipswich's pre-season training camp in Portugal earlier this week. In one session held in sweltering conditions the keeper pushed himself well beyond the pain barrier. After facing a consistent barrage of shots Wright somehow found the energy to get down to the last effort and claw it onto a post in acrobatic fashion before slumping down to the deck for a prolonged period.

“This time of year is difficult,” admitted Wright. “You put your work in and hope that it will see you through a tough season. It's been a very tough couple of days, it's been very hot and we have been training twice a day, but every player understands the need to do this work for the tough season ahead.

“This is a chance to get away from the distractions of being back home. Here we can make sure we are getting the right food, enough rest and also put the work in.

“Everyone is trying to stay out of the sun and relax during the day just in order to get through the next training session. We all want to do ourselves justice every time we are out on the training pitch.”

Wright, who has been to the Ria Park Hotel in the Algarve before when he was with Everton, added: “Everything seems geared to us being a Premier League club.

“We are a team that wants to be in the Premier League and we want to be doing things like this week, in week out.

“We've got to be positive. It's no good saying we are not going to be at the top straight away and we'll see how things are going by January. We've got to do well in pre-season and carry that forward. We want to hit the ground running and be in the mix from the start.”

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