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Kyle Edwards eager to kick on at West Brom

Kyle Edwards has been one of the stand-out performer for Albion so far this summer, netting two goals in two pre-season friendlies.

Kyle Edwards scored against Swindon. (AMA)
Kyle Edwards scored against Swindon. (AMA)

Like many youngsters, the 20-year-old’s future at the club has been uncertain at times, but he was handed a new two-year contract extension in January after impressing on loan at Exeter City.

That season in League Two, which culminated with him scoring at Wembley in the play-off final, has had a huge impact on his development, and now he’s pushing for a place in Albion’s first team squad.

“It’s been a good start,” smiled Edwards. “Hopefully I can continue and bring it into the actual season as well.

“Hopefully I can just stay in and around the squad. I know I probably won’t be starting but if I can get a few appearances and come off the bench a few times I’ll be happy with that.”

A versatile forward capable of playing on either wing or at number 10, Edwards has both pace and trickery, recognisable hallmarks of many talented young attackers.

But he’s come back from Exeter with more strings to his bow. Not only did he learn how to use his body both in and out of possession, his end-product, be they shots or crosses, has also improved.

“It was a big boost because you go out and play men’s football and you learn how to manage it,” added Edwards. “When you come back you’re more mature and can handle it a lot better.

“I feel like I’ve learned the little things in the game, like pushing off your man and using your arms, stuff like that.

“A lot of the older players took me under their wing. I played on the left wing, and at left-back was Craig Woodman (aged 35).

“He helped me a lot with my movement in behind. We had another player, Jake Taylor, he was co-captain, and he helped me with my game. To be fair, most of the boys helped me with the little things.”

Edwards has scored two different goals so far this summer. He fired in a clinical curler from just inside the box to break the deadlock against Barnet before bending his run off the wing and rounding the keeper against Swindon Town.

And his development hasn’t gone unnoticed by Albion’s senior professionals.

“Kyle’s done really well,” said Chris Brunt. “Pre-season he’s come back, you can obviously tell the lads that have been out on loan last season and played senior football.

“It makes a big difference for them at that stage of their career, they learn a lot, they have to grow up fast when they’re out on loan.

"You can tell that they’ve been out and I don’t think it’s a coincidence they’ve been stand-out performers in pre-season.”

After kicking on at Exeter, Edwards is relishing the opportunity to learn from Albion’s first team players.

“All of them are helping,” added the youngster. “Jake (Livermore) has been helping me a lot, and more than anyone else, but I feel like all the seniors have been good in training, they give me advice.”

Edwards comes across as a humble yet determined young man, and he’s under no illusions that the leap from League Two to Championship is great.

But he hopes he gets a chance to shine in the second tier next season.

“I think I can handle it,” he smiled. “Hopefully I’ll get thrown in and if it seems like I can’t, there you go, but I’d like to be given a chance.”

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