England and the USA published unchanged lineups for their World Cup Clash on Friday, except for one name: Haji Wright.
The response was one of surprise on social media, with USMNT fans stunned Coach Gregg Berhalter would throw Wright in against the Roaring Three Lions.
Wright came off the substitutes bench to earn only his fourth international cap in the USA’s opening match of Qatar 2022 against Wales.
Who is Haji Wright and how did he earn such trust from Berhalter? Sporting News gets you up to speed with the Pacy striker.
MORE: USA vs England live: World Cup score, highlights, result
Who is US soccer’s Haji Wright?
Towering over his teammates at 6-foot-3, Wright is a fast-moving striker who has enjoyed a breakout year.
The California-born 24-year-old is second in the Turkish Super Lig’s top-scorer race behind Ecuadorian star Enner Valencia, notching nine goals in 12 games this season.
He was a surprise entry to the USMNT’s final 26-man squad, having only made his debut on the international stage in June.
— OptaJack⚽️ (@OptaJack) November 25, 2022
This XI tells me the coaching staff decided Haji Wright is the paciest option up top, the one best-suited for pressing center backs, Chasing lost causes, dining on scraps, etc.
Are they? I don’t know, but so striking that this is a guy who was expecting to miss the cut 3 weeks ago
— Charles Boehm (@cboehm) November 25, 2022