Cameron Toshack hails impact of teenage debutants
Swansea City Under-23s coach Cameron Toshack has hailed the impact of Josh Edwards after the 15-year-old’s promising recent debut for the development side against West Ham United.
Edwards became the first player of his age to appear for the under-23s when he climbed off the bench for the final 11 minutes of the 4-2 defeat against the Premier League 2 Division 2 leaders earlier this month.
The under-16s midfielder, who has been with the Swans since he was eight years old, enjoyed an impressive cameo at Landore – immediately attempting an ambitious lofted through ball, while neatly maintaining possession and popping up in dangerous areas for the development side.
It completed a whirlwind 24 hours for Edwards in what was his third match in the space of two days.
After playing half an hour for the under-16s, he then appeared for 45 minutes of the under-18s’ defeat by West Ham later that day, before being told to report for under-23s duty the following day.
And Toshack was delighted by how naturally the attacking midfielder made the transition into development football.
“I was really pleased for Josh. It was a day that he will cherish, I’m sure,” he said.
“When he came on, I thought he was superb. He looked comfortable straightaway.
“We gave him one or two points to remember, but just told him to go out and enjoy it. He did exactly that and certainly didn’t look out of place.
“It’s great that we managed to get a 15-year-old local player out on the pitch for an under-23s fixture.”
The West Ham defeat also saw Toshack and Gary Richards hand a debut to first-year scholar Erick Kenko.
Like Edwards, the 16-year-old had appeared for the under-18s the previous day but, nevertheless, produced an assured performance in the middle of the park.
Kenko, who arrived in the summer following his departure from Fulham, demonstrated an impressive range of passing, while also making important interceptions to break down the Hammers’ attacks.
“Erick played really well – especially when you consider that he played 45 minutes for the under-18s the previous day,” Toshack added.
“He played his role very well; he made a number of good passes, closed spaces well and put some good tackles in. We must do that in order to win the ball back and play our own game.
“Some of his passes didn’t quite reach their target at times, but you’re not always going to be perfect on the pitch. However, it’s important that our young players try when they make the step-up, and he certainly did that.
“On the whole, I thought his overall play was very good and he should be encouraged by his performance.”