Jake Wright admits that he became “disappointed” towards the end of his time at Sheffield United.
The defender joined Bolton Wanderers on loan this summer having been deemed surplus to requirements by the Blades.
Wright’s time at Bramall Lane coincides with their rise under manager Chris Wilder. Having previously worked with Wilder at Halifax Town and Oxford United, the pair reunited in south Yorkshire in the summer of 2016.
Wright played a key role in their promotion from League One in 2016/17. In the 31 games the centre-back played that season, the Blades didn’t lose once.
Wright continued to be a key player under Wilder at the start of the following term. However, by Christmas the 33-year-old was out of the team and played just three Championship matches after November 25.
Ahead of the 2018/19 campaign Wright suffered bad facial injuries in a pre-season friendly against Stocksbridge Steels. He wouldn’t play a single minute that season.
Why it was time for Jake Wright to leave Sheffield United
The Blades were evolving under Wilder and assistant Alan Knill and no more so than in defence. Their overlapping centre-backs have since become a great focus of tactical analysis.
In the summer of 2018, as Wright dealt with a serious injury, John Egan was signed from Brentford in what was then a club record deal.
Egan became the anchor, flanked by Chris Basham and Jack O’Connell. The Blades secured promotion to the Premier League and the division’s joint best defensive record.
“I was disappointed to come out of that team but the manager had paid big money for some players so I can understand from a football point of view why it had to happen,” Wright told the Bolton News.
“That was a big blow for me because I was out of the side for three or four months and then by the time I got back the team was absolutely flying. I wasn’t getting in the team, wasn’t really getting in the squad.
“To a man they were brilliant getting promotion. So I can’t really sit here and complain. When a team progresses like that there are bound to be casualties and in this case I was one of them.”
To Wright’s credit, when it became apparent he was no longer needed by Wilder he sought regular football. Having almost joined Scunthorpe United six months earlier, Bolton now represented an opportunity to reignite his career.
“I could have stayed and seen out my contract, not really being involved at Sheffield United,” Wright continued. “But I wanted to play football and when the manager contacted me to say he wanted me I knew straight away it would be a good move.”