Wright happy to be with Barnes

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The Independent Football

Ian Wright arrived at Parkhead yesterday citing his former England colleague, John Barnes, as the man who convinced him it was right to finish his career at Celtic.

Ian Wright arrived at Parkhead yesterday citing his former England colleague, John Barnes, as the man who convinced him it was right to finish his career at Celtic.

Barnes, the club's head coach, has captured the former Arsenal forward on a free transfer from West Ham as a short-term replacement for Henrik Larsson, who will miss the remainder of the campaign after breaking his leg in a Uefa Cup tie against Lyon last week.

"John Barnes was a very big influence," Wright said. "He's a very good friend. It's great to be in charge of such a big club and for him to get me here is fantastic for me.

"It's not a case of the money. The fact that they've come in for me is a privilege and I just want to get there and sort it out."

The Nottingham Forest manager, David Platt, was philosophical about the sudden departure of Wright to Celtic. The 35-year-old striker had been on loan from West Ham for two months and was expected to play in last night's home game against Bolton. However, Celtic negotiated a deal and Platt conceded: "I can totally understand Ian's point of view, although I am obviously very disappointed to be losing him.

"He's in the final year of his career and had the chance of joining a club where he will be playing in front of 60,000 supporters. He's also got the opportunity of figuring in an Old Firm derby - and which player would not want a chance of doing that?

"The package that Celtic have offered Ian was such that he could not turn it down and all we can do is thank him for his efforts over the last two months."

The West Ham manager, Harry Redknapp, paid tribute to Wright, but admitted that finance had come into play, which resulted in the striker's move. "Wrighty is a great player and a great character," he said. "Who knows? He might have got back in the team if he had returned here.

"He brought something special to the club last season and pushed us up to fifth place. Wrighty was well worth the money, but you can't have player on a heavy wage not playing."

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