Arsenal legend Ian Wright says he lacked confidence with women when he was younger and lost his virginity late.
The former England striker, who scored 146 goals over seven years with the Gunners, said he put off losing his virginity out of fear.
Wright says he “didn’t get a lot of love” as a child, leaving him feeling “very insecure”.
And the 55-year-old says he makes up for it now, hugging and kissing his children “to the point where it’s embarrassing”.
Sharp-shooting Wright always had a certain swagger on the football field, and became a £2.5million club-record signing for reigning league champions Arsenal in 1991 after bagging 90 goals for Crystal
He became the Gunners’ all-time leading goalscorer, although he was later surpassed by fellow club legend Thierry Henry with 228.
Wright, who won 33 caps with England, has since carved a career as a larger-than-life pundit and TV presenter.
A father-of-eight, he married wife Nancy in 2011 and says he now knows “what love is”.
But as a teenager his confidence in romantic stakes didn’t match his prowess on the football pitch.
Ian Wright and wife Nancy attend a London Fan Screening of the Paramount Pictures film “Zoolander No. 2″
“I was very insecure during my teenage and adolescent years. I lost my virginity very late,” Wright said on the Fortunately with Fi And Jane podcast .
“I was very scared of that situation, it was literally just after my 18th birthday. I closed myself off.
“I’ve learned how to love. I didn’t get a lot of love when I was younger.
“I hug all the time now, to the point where it’s embarrassing. I kiss my sons. I want to do it for myself.
“It’s what I would have wanted.”
“I knew I needed counselling when I was older to deal with aggression and the anger, I was lucky. My wife is full of love and her family is too.”
Two of Wright’s sons, Shaun-Wright Phillips and Bradley Wright-Phillips, followed him into professional football, both having played for Manchester City and New York Red Bulls among other clubs.