While Tottenham Hotspur have seen a number of exciting academy talents come through the system over the years, perhaps no-one comes closer to matching the ‘what if’ story than one Marcus Edwards, write the Footballfancast.
Speaking back in 2016, former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino raved: “The qualities – it’s only looks, his body and the way that he plays – remember a little bit from the beginning of Messi.
“He’s small, he’s left-footed, I remember a little bit (Erik) Lamela when he was at River Plate, remember he had long hair, when he was 14, 15 years old, there is a lot of videos on YouTube that you can see, that he took the ball, didn’t give a pass and shot straight away.
“He (Edwards) is a very good prospect and potentially he can be a top player, but we need to be patient and tell him that he has a lot of talent, enough talent to be a top player, a great player.”
In fact, his former teammate at England’s youth levels, Stephy Mavididi, had this to say about Edwards: “He is insane. Every time someone asks me about this guy, for me, he is one of the top three players I have played with.
“Dribbling, agility, low center of gravity, his change of direction. I haven’t seen anyone better than him with my own eyes. The guy is a joke, in the pockets and on the turn.”
But having been let go in 2019, Edwards has carved out a very fine career out in Portugal, first with Vitoria and now more recently with Sporting CP, whom he joined earlier this year in the January transfer window.
At the time of his exit from north London, the English ace was valued at just £1.13m (Transfermarkt).
Now with a buy-out clause of around €60m (£50m) at Sporting, Edwards has continued to light it up in the Portuguese top-flight.
In 23 games this season in the league, the diminutive winger has scored eight times and provided four assists, including featuring quite recently in the Champions League last 16 draw away against Manchester City – quite the difference from how his career at Spurs went.
Indeed, earlier this month, Edwards spoke candidly about some of the troubles he faced back at Hotspur Way, saying: “I definitely still think some people didn’t understand me. Now I know how to carry myself a bit differently. When I was younger, only certain coaches took the time out to really understand me and realise I’m just a normal guy, whereas now that’s a bit different.
“You know how rumours spread in football. When I was leaving Tottenham, some people didn’t want to take me because of stuff they’d heard.”
Given how Edwards is now finally beginning to do his talking on the pitch, the likes of Daniel Levy and co back at Spurs may just be wondering whether they could have done a little more to convince the talented attacker to stay put in north London.