FORMER Lakewood star Tyreik Wright has been making headlines recently.
The youngster from Ovens has been watched by both Everton and Celtic after making an impact on loan in League Two.
Having recently gone to Walsall from Aston Villa, the 19-year-old pacey winger has impressed with his two assists in both of his games. He is delighted to be getting game-time and showing his potential.
“I am loving my time here at Walsall. Going out on loan is something I have wanted for quite a while now,” said Wright.
“I signed with Aston Villa at the age of 16 back in 2018 where I got to spend six months at U18 level before I then moved into the U23’s where I have been ever since.
“I have been playing U23 football for nearly three years with Aston Villa but to be honest when you’re playing in that league for that long, it isn’t that competitive as obviously first-team football.
"You just get too comfortable at that level and I was really wanting first-team football action, I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and express what I could do, so I was delighted to go out on loan and thrilled now to be at Walsall. I am delighted to be here and I am excited to see where the remainder of the season can take me.”
Impressing in his two games against Port Vale and Mansfield, the teenager is excited about the remainder of the season and it’s evident Walsall boss Darrel Clarke is also excited to have him involved.
“Tyreik’s got great ability,” said Clarke. "He’s been showing his match-winning qualities in the U23s at Villa and for his country at youth level. He has that match-winning quality, energy, pace, and he created the goal at Port Vale [his debut] with one bit of magic.
"We’ve got a great relationship with Villa and we’re very grateful to them for letting us have one of their exciting youngsters."
"I have played two games and I am happy with my performances against both Port Vale and Mansfield," said Wright.
“Making the step up from U23s to first-team football was tough just for the first few training sessions and after that, I felt really comfortable and loving the challenge. It’s been a fantastic experience already in such a short space of time.”
So what are Wright’s hope for the remainder of the season?
“My contract is up at the end of the season and I’m not sure yet what the plan is. My main focus at the moment is to concentrate on showcasing myself with Walsall and see where that takes me. For me once I enjoy my time here until the end of the season, I hope then it will open up opportunities for me.
“Clubs such as Everton and Celtic have been looking seemingly. I haven’t personally had any contact from either club however it’s nice to know there is an interest, but at the same time, I just need to concentrate on my football.
“The plan for the moment is to finish out my loan spell with Walsall, enjoy my summer break and then return to Villa for pre-season training. I suppose having been out on loan gave me the opportunity to get game time and it also gives Villa manager Dean Smith an opportunity to see how I’m doing.
"Who knows if I return and do well for preseason, I might be of interest for Smith with the first team.
“It has been my first loan and I wasn’t expecting as much game time as I am getting which is great. Not only can this open opportunities at Villa, but I am also given the chance to showcase my ability for other clubs. Playing first-team football is my only ambition.
“Obviously Walsall is League Two so I know there is another jump for the Premier League. It’s great Villa have been there now for the past two seasons and I reckon they will be there again next season so obviously, they will need to buy in players, so look for me it’s all about taking the opportunity with both hands if it arises.
“This year has been great for us to see the youth come through to the first team at Villa. That gives us all a huge lift. A few local boys have made their debuts with the first team so we know the opportunities are there.
“My main aim is to get as much first-team experience as possible. I will be trying my best to get my stats up as a winger which is based on creating and scoring goals. At Villa, I wasn’t doing that enough so hopefully now I can gain more playing time which then will allow me to push on and take my game to the next level.
"I am really excited about what the future holds.”