Edwards: I'm Settled Here and Would Like to Stay
Friday, 13th Mar 2020 12:03
Town winger Gwion Edwards has confirmed he would like to stay at Portman Road beyond the end of his present deal, which is due to expire at the end of the season, although the club have an option to extend his stay for a further 12 months.
Edwards, who was signed by Paul Hurst from Peterborough in July 2018, said: “I’m settled here and would like to stay. My ambition is to play again in the Championship and I know the club want to get back there as soon as they can too.
“There hasn’t been any talk yet about it. We’ve just been concentrating on the games and we’ll deal with the contract situation nearer the time. The club have the one-year option and I think they have until the third Saturday in May, or something like that, to decide if they want to trigger it.
“Last year there were some contracts decided at the very last minute but I’m not worried about it. I’ve not really had a thought on it but when the time comes we’ll sit down and discuss it. For the time being I’m concentrating on the games that we need to win to force our way into the play-offs.”
Edwards said that he and his colleagues remain firmly behind manager Paul Lambert as Town seek a solution to a dramatic dip in form that is in danger of scuppering their promotion dream.
He added: “Players, staff, everybody is working hard to get it right. We’re all behind each other and we need the fans to be behind us as well. We’ve got to keep going as a team and as a club because we can still achieve a play-off place.”
While it is still mathematically possible to secure a top-six finish, tenth-placed Town have made it difficult for themselves and on the subject of dealing with setbacks, Edwards added: “It’s tough but I’ve been doing this all my career now and if you’re not mentally tough, or you can’t get yourself up for the games, you shouldn’t really be playing football.
“Every day we come into training it’s about preparing for the next game but you have to learn how to deal with all aspects of the game, which includes winning and losing. We come in again after we have played, on a Sunday or a Monday, and we put the game to bed.
“We have meetings, we chat about it among ourselves but whatever has happened it has gone and the focus is on planning for the next game. We’ve stuck together well as a team and we’re working really hard to turn this corner.”
The Welshman’s first season at Portman Road ended with him as joint leading marksman on six goals alongside Freddie Sears but in the current campaign he has so far managed to net just twice in 35 appearances, a number of which have seen him occupy the right-back position.
Asked if he was enjoying the role, Edwards continued: “It’s not ideal but it is what it is. I’ll do my best wherever I’m playing, as any player would. I’ve played at right wing-back as well and that helps me a bit more because I’m a winger.
“But it doesn’t matter what position I’m in, I’ll always give 110 per cent in every game. If I can help the team by playing out of position I’m happy to do it and it’s fair to say I’ve learned a lot of different things playing as a right-back.
“The skipper always keeps me right with my defensive duties, telling me where I should be in different situations, but it’s not just him. The staff have also helped me with settling into that role as we go through the games afterwards and you see little things that might escape you when you play as a winger.
“I see it as part of the game to have to play out of position at times and I did it when I was younger. I’ve had to fill in because of injuries and in that situation you can only do your best. I’m trying to get forward as much as I can, when I’m allowed to that is.
“It’s a different position and I’m still learning. I might even become a better winger by learning what it’s like to play as a full-back. We’ll see when I get back to playing on the wing, whether right or left, but I’m clearly developing a better understanding of what it takes to play full-back.”
The absence through injury of ex-Colchester player Kane Vincent-Young, who was starring at right-back as Town went on an unbeaten 11-game league run that took them to the top of the table, has been one of the reasons for their form lapse.
Vincent-Young was last on first-team duty back in October and Edwards added: “I’m not the manager but when Kane is fully fit again I would see him coming back into the side at right-back and hopefully I can push forward to the right or left-wing and play my natural position, and hopefully add more to the team.
“Playing full-back is all about getting forward when you can and having an impact in the final third. Against Coventry at the weekend we had Judgey on the right and Bish on the left, and they naturally come inside anyway. That helped me to get forward so I was playing like a winger at times and I fully enjoyed being able to do that.
“Kane likes to get forward as well and if we had two players like that on the right we could be very dangerous.”
Meanwhile, with the EFL having opted to suspend football until April 3rd because of the coronavirus, Edwards continued: “That has to be the right decision. It is very worrying for everyone, not just in football obviously but every walk of life, and people's health has to come first.
“We heard this morning that there was a good chance of the next few games being called off and it isn’t surprising when you see what’s been happening outside the UK. We need to do what’s best for everyone and not take chances.
“There was talk of playing behind closed doors and that would have been a weird experience without any fans present, but I think the decision to call games off is the right one in the circumstances. Our health is more important than anything else.
“There has been a lot of talk between the lads about the virus, especially when we heard that more and more people within the game were testing positive. That makes you realise the impact it can have and how close it could be. Now that games have been called off we just have to get on with it and hope this is the answer.
“Of course there will be a knock-on effect – we’ve got the Euros coming up for example – so it’s not ideal and not what anyone wants. But everybody is having to adjust accordingly and it makes sense that football has reacted in this way."
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