When Tottenham Hotspur’s Marcus Edwards was sent out on loan to the Eredivisie with Excelsior this summer, it was pretty much considered his last chance to impress. After allegations of attitude & immaturity problems and a disastrous loan at Norwich last season, it looked as though Edwards might never fulfill the promise he showed as a member of Tottenham’s academy.
Edwards looks to have turned things around in the Netherlands this season, however. That was evident today as Edwards scored a goal and assisted a second in Excelsior’s 2-1 win over FC Emmen. And we have highlights!
First, here’s Edward’s goal. It’s a lovely bit of skill as Marcus dribbles through the heart of the Emmen defense and slots a ball off the post and past the keeper.
Three minutes later, Edwards was a creator, receiving the ball at midfield and driving forward before playing a tidy through ball for Dennis Eckert to fire home.
Edwards is having a nice season with Excelsior. He’s become a primary attacking threat for Excelsior, relying on his dribbling ability and speed to break down defenses. He’s scored three goals and tallied three assists this season, and according to WhoScored, Mini-Messi is currently second in the Eredivisie in successful dribbles per 90 (4.5) and leads the league in fouls earned (4.5). Edwards is also leading Excelsior in shot assists/90 and shots/90 (though according to Michael Caley in our CFC writer’s room these figures aren’t the greatest in the context of the whole league because Excelsior isn’t very good)
Excelsior is currently 14th (out of 18) with 25 points, but the win today was a huge one and will do a lot to help them avoid the drop.
So we’re led to wonder now — what will this apparently successful loan mean for Edwards’ future at Spurs? Truthfully, we don’t yet know. Marcus is 20 now, no longer a talented teenager but a young player who needs to start showing that he can hack it in English football at the top tier if he’s ever going to.
Unfortunately, Spurs are pretty much stocked at attacking midfield, and unless something changes there probably aren’t that many minutes for him at Spurs. He might have done enough to earn him another loan with a better Eredivisie team, but he also only has one more year on his existing Spurs contract. That suggests that this summer Spurs may either decide to reintegrate him, or move him on for a decent fee.
Alasdair Gold also wrote briefly about Edwards’ future at Spurs in a Q&A on football.london today, suggesting that if he continues this form he may force another look from Mauricio Pochettino.
This season will have been a great experience for Marcus Edwards and getting him away to a technical league to develop was a good move by those around him. He’s done well on the whole in the Eredivise and it will have taught him plenty about first team football and its demands. When he returns to Spurs this summer - there is no option for a permanent deal to join Excelsior Rotterdam - he will have a year left on his deal. He and the club will have to make a decision about what comes next. If he returns and dazzles in training then Pochettino will have no choice but to take a look at him again. If he comes back with the mindset that he wants to continue playing regularly elsewhere then that will be what happens.
It’s nice to see Edwards doing good things in a top European division, especially after all of the drama of the past couple of seasons. The future’s still out on where he goes from here, but it appears that he’s finally starting to make the most from the opportunities he’s being given.