Burnley defender Edgar grasps his opportunity
DEFENDER David Edgar’s mantra from arriving at Burnley has been ‘give me a chance, and I’ll show you how good I am.’
That chance has been a long time coming.
But now the amiable Canada international is showing exactly why Owen Coyle brought him to the club on the eve of the Premier League season in 2009.
Edgar turned down a new contract at Newcastle after their relegation to the Championship that summer, wanting first team football, and hoped he would get it at Turf Moor.
However, he made only one appearance under Coyle, in the Carling Cup at Hartlepool, and didn’t even appear in one of his Premier League squads, before Brian Laws handed him a starting berth in his first game in charge - at Old Trafford!
He made only 14 appearances in total in his first two seasons with the club, but having been given a chance at Derby in August, he has gone on to make 25 successive starts - earning a contract extension to take him through to the summer of 2014.
His ability to play in a number of roles - left and right back, holding midfielder and centre back, possibly held him back, and Edgar said: “At the time, I just wanted to be playing, wherever I was asked, but when I got my chance at centre back it was a major thing.
“I love playing there and feel most comfortable there.
“It was difficult being in and out of the team, but hopefully that’s in the past and I can focus on playing well and earning my shirt every week.
“I’ve spoken to you a lot about it, in the past couple years, all I ever wanted was a chance.
“I knew deep down I could play in the team and in this league, it was just getting the opportunity to do so.
“It’s always been my aim to get in the team, stay in and play games, there were disappointing times but I never let my head drop and just kept plugging away and training hard.
“I got my opportunity under the gaffer and I like to think I’ve taken it so far.”
He had a loan spell at Swansea in March 2010, and was set to go back there last season before a paperwork issue scuppered the move, and he said: “I had loan moves to get football, and that happens, there were frustrating times, but I love playing here, I love the staff, so I didn’t see myself leaving, I just wanted to get games and prove myself.”
He got his chance in the final game of last season, earning the man of the match award against Cardiff, and that lifted his spirits going into the summer: “The Cardiff game was massive for me, it made my summer a lot better and I went away, stayed fit and came back flying.
“You like to think there’s a clean slate every year coming into pre-season, I worked hard over the summer and stayed fit, and had a really good pre-season.
“I wanted to show how badly I wanted it.”
He has shown that desire and determination on the pitch, and admits he needed that off the field as well in tough times: “I consider myself quite determined, all I ever wanted to do was play football, and once I got my chanc e I didn’t want to let it go.
“That’s football, it happened to me at Newcastle quite a bit, I was out of the side, and you’ve just got to take your chance when it comes.
“I eventually got a chance in my position, and that was the major thing.
“I’ve always thought I was a centre back, playing games you mature, and I’m still quite young to be a centre back in football terms, but I’ve got a lot of room for improvement, and I’m working on my game.
“Consistency comes with games, and I see myself as a centre back.
“I think I’ve definitely improved, matured as a centre back and you learn the league, because the Championship is difficult.
“I’ve cut out the silly mistakes, I’d like to think, and I’ve got better in terms of defending.”
His displays have led to a contract extension, and he is happy to stay put: “I’m really delighted, I guess it tops off what’s been a good season for me so far , with playing and staying in the team, and I just want to stay in the team at Burnley.
“I guess it’s something of a reward, the main thing is signing the deal and continuing to play games and get points.
“I just want to continue playing well and stay in the team. You’ve got to earn your shirt every week, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Playing regularly for Burnley has also seen him earn a regular start for Canada, and while the Air Miles are clocking up, he doesn’t mind a bit of jet lag: “I’ve played a lot of games and travelled a lot of places the last few months. I wanted to play for my country, and it’s more football.
“I recover quite quick, and I said to my family, it’s a good feeling being tired after games because I’ve never really had that. I love the day in, day out playing.”
Now the aim is promotion back to the Premier League during the rest of his time at Turf Moor: “That’s the mai aim, we want to do it as soon as possible, but we’ll take it one step at a time, and hopefully we’ll be up there at the end of the season.
“We’ve just to keep moving up the league and keep picking up points.”