England under-20 coach Andy Edwards hails ‘outstanding’ Spurs youngster Josh Onomah
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Out-of-possession coach full of praise for Tottenham Hotspur midfielder and team-mate Kyle Walker-Peters
England under-20 coach Andy Edwards praised the contribution of Tottenham Hotspur duo Josh Onomah and Kyle Walker-Peters following the recent World Cup triumph.
The 45-year-old, who is an out-of-possession coach with the Football Association, was part of Paul Simpson’s management team in Korea.
Edwards, a former manager and academy director at London club Leyton Orient, hailed the performances of the Spurs pair during the tournament.
He talked up the display of Onomah in the final against Venezuela on June 11, where a goal from Dominic Calvert-Lewin gave England a 1-0 win and crowned them under-20 World Cup champions.
“Josh was outstanding throughout the whole tournament and everyone would agree his red card in the Mexico game was absolutely ridiculous,” said Edwards.
“It was never a sending-off, but he came back into the team for the final and I thought he was one of our stand-out players against Venezuela.”
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Onomah harshly received a second yellow card in the quarter-final win over Mexico, which ruled him out of England’s last four clash with Italy.
Walker-Peters played his part in the knock-out stage of the tournament, but actually started the competition on the bench.
An injury opened up the pathway for the Tottenham defender to force his way into Simpson’s starting XI and he never looked back.
The 20-year-old grasped his opportunity and shone out of position on the left side of a back four, rather than in his usual right-back slot.
Edwards added: “Kyle wasn’t in the side for the first two games, but made his first appearance against South Korea at left-back.
“We had an injury to Rico Henry of Brentford, who had to fly home unfortunately, so Kyle came in and he was exceptional in the third group game (1-0 win over South Korea) and never looked back.
“I thought he was great going forward, had good pace and quick feet, but was also very strong defensively. When he was defending one-on-one situations and from a positional sense, he was spot-on.
“If you win a World Cup you need players performing at a high level and one to 21 we did, but I thought Kyle was very exciting to watch and as an attacking full-back, he has a very good future.”
Ex-Orient manager Edwards has been involved with the FA for four months after leaving O’s at the end of January.
He believes the governing body get a bad rep at times, but discussed some of the work taking place behind the scenes.
The next challenge for England’s successful under-20 group is getting chances in the first-team of Premier League clubs.
“I have been at the FA for four months and it has been good. It is a very good organisation with good structure and support behind the scenes, which you need to be successful,” said Edwards.
“The set-up gives the players and staff the platform to maximise their potential and get the results.
“Everyone looks at it and talks about the senior team and a lot is gauged on that, but some of the work being done behind the scenes and the time and effort being invested is second to none.
“The FA gets some stick at times, but I think it is pretty unfair and it seems an easy target, yet ultimately as a country we are producing some really good players.
“Clearly the next step is for them to get game time at clubs and it can be really difficult because the Premier League is a world league and you almost have got to be world class to get into someone’s side.
“That is the challenge going forward for this group of players. If we are to produce a successful national team then you need players to be getting exposure as early as possible.”
A positive for Onomah and Walker-Peters is that in Mauricio Pochettino, they have a manager who provides opportunities for youngsters when the time is right. Both will hope they get those chances soon.