Tottenham Hotspur’s Marcus Edwards has yet to make his first team debut for Norwich City, the Championship side which he joined on loan this month, but his presence has attracted a lot of attention because of the sheer volume of his potential. However, his new manager Daniel Farke is already making clear that Edwards has some work to do in order to make it as a professional footballer, telling the media that “Mini Messi” needs to “grow up” or he’ll find life tough at Carrow Road.
“There is no pressure on this signing. If it works, we can have some fun with him. If not, it is more a problem for Marcus. There is no doubt with the ball he is one of our best players. But without it, he has to grow up a bit. That was the reason he didn’t play for Tottenham.
“They have a good squad but he is still one of the best there with the ball. He has to be more grown up in his attitude. We got the feeling we could take him because there is no financial risk with a loan. We have really good conditions and we can only win.”
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who read Guillem Balague’s book “Brave New World” about Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham’s 2015-16 season. In that book, Pochettino says that Edwards is insanely talented, but has “authority and behavioral problems.” That could be why, despite making his Spurs debut against Gillingham last season, he didn’t sniff the first team at all this year, and why Pochettino has been extra careful with his development.
Despite the mild public admonishment, Farke went on to praise Edwards’ ability and noted that he’s been doing well in training.
“If he is able to grow up pretty soon we have one of the best players in the Championship. 100 per cent. His potential is so highly rated, one of the best in Europe. If he needs a bit longer then no problem. It is more a problem for him.
“Then he would return to Tottenham without any time on the pitch. We will give him all our support and this week he was pretty disciplined and concentrated but it is a little bit early to bring him into the squad.
“He needs to learn a little bit more and he is more grown up in his attitude on the pitch and in his behaviour. It is up to him. We give him all the support and trust and then he must go through the door. We can’t carry him.”
It’s not at all unusual for young players — heck, young people — to go through a phase in their adolescent and teen years where they have difficulty taking direction. Marcus Edwards isn’t at all alone in this regard, and Spurs fans should give him the benefit of the doubt and allow him to learn and grow. In this context, Farke’s words are a little harsh, but also fair.
Still, there’s no question that this is a crucial loan for Marcus, and one where he can prove to himself, to Norwich, and to Spurs that he’s ready to take the next step forward in his development as a player and as a person. I don’t know much about Daniel Farke, but based on these comments he certainly seems like he could be the best possible manager for Edwards at this point in time.