Marcus Edwards is the pint-sized Englishman making waves in Portugal. A classic example of taking one step backward to take two steps forward, he traded in the bright lights of the Premier League for sunnier climbs on the Iberian Peninsula. But now, Edwards’s career has come full circle, with impressive spells at Vitória de Guimarães and Sporting leading to calls for a return to former club Tottenham Hotspur.
After bursting through the ranks in North London under Mauricio Pochettino, who likened him to Lionel Messi, Edwards struggled for minutes and fitness. But a loan spell at Excelsior showcased Edwards’s talent as he topped the Eredivisie for dribbles completed per game (3.3,) ironically finishing ahead of Steven Bergwijn, who’d go on to join Tottenham the following season. Despite impressing on loan, Edwards left for Vitória de Guimarães in 2019, where he went from strength to strength, even netting against Arsenal in the Europa League.
A move to Sporting beckoned in 2022, and as Sporting fan Nuno Mourão attests to he’s taken the move in his stride. “Marcus Edwards, since joining us just over one year ago, has constantly evolved and, with his shy and very reserved personality, proven to be one of the most decisive players on the team. Although Sporting CP is having a poor season, Marcus still managed to score ten goals and seven assists in just over 30 games so far.”
Edwards’s snaky runs and low centre of gravity have immediately endeared him to the Sporting fans, whilst his performances in the Champions League have raised his profile back home. “I would highlight his great ability in 1×1 situations, the way he moves from the outside to the inside, his capacity to get out playing under pressure, and his ability to make key passes.”
At 24, there’s still plenty of room for Edwards to improve. But as he’s shown at every stage of his career, he is a strong-minded individual who’s not afraid to put in the hard yards to make it at the highest level. “On the downside, there are moments when he appears unfocused during the game and needs to improve his consistency. But he is one of those players who simply has that natural talent and instinct that cannot be taught. You know that he can do something special at any given moment to win the game for us.”
Tottenham have had to waive 15% of the 50% sell-on clause they held for Edwards to secure the loan signing of Sporting wing-back Pedro Porro. But with Edwards stating that he’d welcome a return to the Premier League, Tottenham may look to bring him home this summer.
By: Sam Tabuteau / @TabteauS
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Getty Images