Ian Wright has revealed how a near miss with drug testers when he was young forced him to quit smoking cannabis.

Wright was a 21-year-old playing for Crystal Palace when his career almost hit a serious speedbump.

(Neal Simpson/EMPICS)

He wrote in The Sun: “I’d been smoking weed since I was about 17, not in a smoke-myself-into-uselessness type of way and I wasn’t worried about becoming an addict.”

The former Arsenal man said smoking marijuana had become a weekly ritual and he didn’t realise he was doing anything wrong.

Then after a win against West Brom, his actions were thrown into sharp focus when drug testers came into the dressing room.

(Nick Potts/PA)

He said: “It’s the first time I’d ever seen them and I panicked inside – I’ve been smoking cannabis, less than 24 hours earlier, and if that test comes back positive that’s it. It is literally all over for me.”

But Wright got lucky – the testers went for two other players, Mark Bright and Phil Barber.

“From that day to this I never smoked a spliff again,” he said.

Wright, now 52, went on to win the league with Arsenal and 33 caps for England.