Mick Wadsworth hails debut star Stephen Wright

Stephen Wright in action Hartlepool United V Exeter City 2-0 03-09-2011. Photograph by FRANK REID

Stephen Wright in action Hartlepool United V Exeter City 2-0 03-09-2011. Photograph by FRANK REID

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MICK Wadsworth admits it looked as if new signing Stephen Wright had played for Hartlepool United all of his life after his flawless display against Exeter City.

The 31-year-old had been a Pools player for barely 24 hours when he was thrown his debut for the visit of the Grecians, responding with a commanding display at the heart of the backline.

It was Wright’s first outing in seven months, but Wadsworth says there were no signs of any rustiness as he strolled through the 90 minutes without putting a foot wrong.

“Stephen Wright has never been away has he?” he put to SportMail when asked about the performance of the new boy during the 2-0 win.

“He stepped in with such calmness and command and the leadership in Sam’s (Collins) absence was fantastic.”

Wright, a free agent since his release from Brentford at the end of last season, still lives in Durham following his six years at Sunderland and has been training with Pools in recent weeks in a bid to maintain his fitness.

But such was the impression he made on both players and staff that Wadsworth moved to sign up the Scouser late last week.

And the manager believes the relationships the defender has developed over the past few weeks were a big help when it came to slotting into the side.

“Stephen slipped into it and looked like he has been there for years,” he said.“He knows the lads so well and has played in 11 against 11 in training so he has been part of it.

“He’s trained with us while he seeked employment, so that has helped.

“But he’s a terrific lad and a great pro.

“He fits in well in the dressing room and is a good performer – he can be pleased with his debut.”

Read the full story in Monday’s Mail ...