Arsenal legend Ian Wright to 'step back' from Match of the Day after 26 years

17 December 2023, 09:24 | Updated: 17 December 2023, 09:31

Ian Wright
Ian Wright. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Ian Wright is to step back from Match of the Day, 26 years after he first appeared on the football highlights show.

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Former Arsenal and England striker Wright is a regular on the show and made his first appearance in 1997, while he was still playing.

He said he would be "stepping back" at the end of the season, adding that "it's time to do a few more different things with my Saturdays".

Wright, 60, said the decision had been coming for a while, but that it had been fast-tracked by reaching his seventh decade in November.

He said: "I feel very privileged to have had such an incredible run on the most iconic football show in the world."

Read more: Davina McCall, Ian Wright and Line of Duty's Vicky McClure among those recognised in King's Birthday Honours list

Read more: Tory councillor investigated by police after calling Ian Wright a 'typical black hypocrite' amid Gary Lineker row

Ian Wright playing for Arsenal in 1995
Ian Wright playing for Arsenal in 1995. Picture: Getty

Wright added: "Anyone that knows my story knows how much the show has meant to me since I was a young boy. MOTD is my Holy Grail. On my first ever show, I told [presenter] Des Lynam, 'This is my Graceland'. It will always be my Graceland and I will always be watching.

"I'm stepping back having made great friends and many great memories. I'm really looking forward to my last months on the show and covering what will hopefully be an amazing title race."

Ian Wright
Ian Wright. Picture: Getty

Wright kicked off his professional football career with Crystal Palace in 1985, when he was 21. He scored 90 goals in south-east London club.

He moved north of the river to Arsenal in 1991, scoring 185 goals for the Gunners and becoming the club's leading goalscorer for a time.

He won the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup during his stint at Highbury.

Wright left to join West Ham, before playing for Nottingham, Celtic and Burnley as his career wound down.

He also scored nine goals in 33 England appearances.

Since retiring he has become a familiar face in football coverage with several different broadcasters.

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