I know, I know, Dave Edwards, legend? How? Why? When? WTF? And all the rest of it, but bear with.
The big man hung up his international boots this week in the classiest possible way. No toys out of prams. No ‘I won’t get picked so why bother’. No ‘focusing on prolonging my club career’. Just thanks for everything, good luck boys, it’s time for us to move on:
Now, legend is thrown around quite a lot. Cheaply awarded. Normally to your mate, probably called Dave, who’s an absolute lej and the archbishop and banterbury for suggesting a cheeky Nando’s after work on a Tuesday.
He’s not btw. Because Nando’s is just a chicken shop. You do get that, right? Just chicken. Broaden your palate a little! No one should ever have to queue for chicken.
Anyhoo, back to Dave. 43 caps. 3 goals. How could he possibly be a Wales legend? Let’s spell it out:
I mean, come on, obvs. One of the golden generation. Helped Wales get to the Euros in the first place. Got to France and showed everyone why Wales deserved to be there. Played his part. Played his heart out. Will go down in history regardless of what happens next. The Euro generation are untouchable in many people’s eyes.
Ask him to do a job and he does it. Minimal fuss, minimal grandstanding, minimal whining, just gets on with it. Closing in on 500 league games. Played for Shrewsbury, Luton, Wolves and now trying to help Reading out of a Championship relegation scrap.
He’s just there, getting the job done. Being all professional about it. Put one past his ex-Wales boss Chris Coleman against Sunderland towards the end of last year. Sorry, Cookie. Yeah, we had some good times but, y’know, got a job to do. No hard feels.
Same for Wales. Picked, turned up, did what was asked of him while we all got giddy about Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen and Neil Taylor. Yes, the last one was just for a cheap gag! Sorry Tayls, but you get the point.
He played in a better team than Gareth Bale.
No, honestly, he did. At school level I grant you. But his school, Mary Webb in Pontesbury, got to the final stages of a national competition. Who wasn’t there? Gareth Bale and his Whitchurch High team. So much for the tactic of ‘just pass it to Bale’ (care of Wales rugby captain Sam Warburton). Dave was in a proper school football team that went places.
Just read his statement again. He’s seen what’s coming and from talking to him about it he’s as excited as we are with the likes of Ben Woodburn, David Brookes, Ethan Ampadu and Harry Wilson looking like they’re ready to take centre stage. Ampadu and Woodburn in particular impressed him in the internationals against France and Panama at the back end of 2017.
He knows he doesn’t need to stick around, taking up squad space. His job is done. The next gen are here and it’s important they get opportunities and game time to get us to the next Euros, and/or the next World Cup in Qatar, the tournament the FAW have targeted since bringing in Ryan Giggs as manager.
He’s stepping down now because he knows it’s the right time. Bless him. Which brings us to…
He’s just really, really, lovely.
He honestly is. There are no airs and graces about this guy. No, outlandish riders, payment demands or generally behaving like a hairy ball bag around media. He’s polite, interesting, self-deprecating and intelligent. Kind of makes you wonder how he made it as a footballer.
Not convinced? Two hours in the freezing cold to shoot a silly little video for our pokey little website. He never complained. Not once. He went along with all the stupid suggestions we made and we had a ball. And he was thoroughly entertaining with it. Anybody who puts up with our pratting around for two hours in the freezing cold and is still uncommonly polite at the end of it is a proper legend in our book.
And speaking of books, Dave Edwards’ autobiography ‘Living My Dream’ will soon be on sale again from St David’s Press and good book stores. Dave’s proceeds from the book go towards children’s’ charity Little Rascals Foundation.
Thanks for everything Dave. And all the best. But, y’know, can’t please everyone!
Dave Edwards international retirement statement:
It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to announce my international retirement.
It has been a huge privilege to represent my country over the last 15 years and one that I have loved and savoured along every step Of the way.
I feel the time is right to step away as the country embarks on an exciting new chapter. We have some really exceptional young talent and I believe it is more important for Welsh
football that they have the same chances I had to gain some invaluable experience rather than me stay around to pick up a few extra caps.
I am truly proud to have been a part Of the most successful team in Welsh history, experiencing some incredible highs that will stay with me forever. I thank everyone who shared this journey with me including managers, players, staff and of course the amazing Welsh fans.
Wearing the Welsh shirt has filled me with so much pride and it is an honour to be one of the lucky people out there selected to do so.
With that said I wish the team and nation every success in the future. Thank you for the memories.
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