Getting to know. . . Swansea City Under-18s winger Liam Edwards
25th March 2016
As part of our Swans Academy content, we speak to an upcoming talent within the youth ranks at the club.
Next under the spotlight is under-18s winger Liam Edwards, who talks about his move from local league football to the Swans and his first steps in international football with Wales.
From playing local league football to being called up for Wales' Under-17s squad, a lot has changed for Swansea City Academy winger Liam Edwards over the past two years.
The 16-year-old's impressive displays for Welsh League side Cambrian and Clydach Vale initially attracted the attention of academy coach Gary Richards, who invited Edwards for a trial with the Swans.
Six weeks later, the young winger joined the Swans on a permanent basis, which inevitably proved a life-changing moment.
"The last two years have been really positive for me," said Edwards. "I had a few trials with other clubs but did not manage to secure myself a contract.
"At the time, it was disappointing. But not long after those initial setbacks, I was scouted by Gary Richards, who introduced me to the Swans set up.
"I was given a six-week trial to show what I could do, which gave me an opportunity to play for a Premier League club. I knew I had to take my opportunity with both hands."
After impressing during his trial period, Edwards was brought into the club's U16s set-up. His positive to start to life at the academy then saw the teenager earn a place in an U19s squad that competed in a cup tournament in South Africa.
"I went to Cape Town last season as the squad's youngest player," he said. "I was playing alongside some players who were first-year professionals and who had been with the club for years.
"I did not know many of the lads at the time, so going on that trip helped me grow and mature as a person and a player.
"It was a great experience for me, not just because I was playing against older players but because the whole team got to experience a different style of football to what we play in Europe. Their players were physically much fitter, so we had to improve our game tactically.
"That experience definitely helped me prepare for my first full season with the U18s."
Still only a first-year scholar, Edwards staked a claim in the U18s' first team whilst on a pre-season tour of Prague. He followed that up by getting Swansea's season off to a flying start when he netted the opening goal of the campaign against Leicester.
"To score my debut goal during the first game of the season was great," added Edwards. "It gave me a good first step going forward.
"I never thought I would have as much game time as I have had this season, but I am really grateful for the opportunity.
"It has been a difficult season for us against huge academies like Chelsea, Arsenal and West Ham, but as a team we have progressed well to earn some good results this season."
Edwards recognises he has come a long way in the last two years, but the young Swan admits he has ambitions to go even further in the next 12 months.
"I just want to keep progressing," insisted the young Swan. "Not just for myself; I want to be part of the team to help the U18s go forward next season.
"I have to give a lot of credit to Gary for where I am right now; he is the one that started it all for me. If it was not for him I would not have been able to take the step up with my game.
"He has now progressed up to lead the U21s squad, which is where I aim to be. It would be a dream for me to earn a professional contract to be with the U21s setup this time next year.
"That is my aspiration, but I know there is a long road still ahead for me."
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