Sporting Lisbon hotshot Marcus Edwards is priced at 7/2 to earn a place in Gareth Southgate’s England World Cup squad in Qatar after a dazzling display against former club Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League.
(This article was originally published on 14.09.2022)
Spending 12 years at Tottenham from the age of eight before making the move to Portugal, initially with provincial club Vitoria de Guimaraes before landing a move to the capital, Edwards certainly looked like a player with a point to prove.
The 23-year-old, who can play in every position across the front three, proved a thorn in the side of Spurs all night as the Premier League outfit were downed by two stoppage time goals in a 2-0 defeat on matchday two of the Champions League.
Edwards resembled the great Lionel Messi with his low centre of gravity and dribbling skills, having been denied an incredible solo goal by Spurs skipper Hugo Lloris in the first half.
His second standout Champions League performance in as many outings, after registering a goal and an assist for Sporting in an impressive 3-0 win away at Eintracht Frankfurt in their group opener, there have been calls for the diminutive forward to be placed under consideration for England national team selection.
We have assessed Edwards’ international credentials ahead of the Qatar World Cup starting in November…
After coming through the youth ranks at Tottenham, Edwards kick-started his career on Portuguese soil after securing a move to Primeira Liga side Vitoria de Guimaraes.
Settling like a duck to water overseas, Edwards contributed with seven goals and seven assists in the Portuguese top flight in his debut campaign, with his first goal for the club ironically arriving against Arsenal in the Europa League group stages.
Edwards would go on to make a further 16 goal contributions in the Primeira Liga for Vitoria de Guimaraes across the next two seasons, before Sporting Lisbon made their move in January 2022.
It’s safe to say the Englishman has not looked out of place since arriving at one of Portugal’s most famous and successful clubs, emerging as a key player in Sporting’s scintillating start to this season’s Champions League.
Although Edwards’ Champions League exploits for Sporting have drawn admiring glances from back home, with Premier League suitors reportedly readying a move, it remains a tough task for him to break into an England side in which there is steep competition for places.
As a forward-thinking player most typically deployed out wide, Edwards will be vying for an England place in a position which is stacked in quality, with established players such as Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka presumably already guaranteed a place on the plane to Qatar.
To apply context to how difficult a task it will be for Edwards to break into the England squad at this point, Manchester United duo Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford are both yet to be called up by their country this year.
Having said this, Edwards’ style of play could be acknowledged as offering something a little bit different which is valuable within an international squad. At just 5ft 6in tall, Edwards is a unique talent with a maverick ability to eliminate defenders and change a game in an instant.
A few more Champions League masterclasses could be all it takes for Edwards to emerge as a genuine wildcard pick for England boss Southgate ahead of Qatar.