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David Edgar aims to start for Newcastle

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From KW Record

http://news.therecord.com/News/CanadaWorld/article/297328

Kitchener's David Edgar aims to start for Newcastle

January 19, 2008

The Canadian Press

NEWCASTLE, ENGLAND

Canadian defender David Edgar had no problems with former Newcastle United manager Sam Allardyce. And he is looking forward to working with the new boss, Kevin Keegan.

Edgar's goal is the same -- Newcastle's reserve team captain just wants to play.

The 20-year-old from Kitchener has made the senior bench nine times this season, getting on the field once as a substitute. He finds himself a little in soccer limbo, not seeing first-team action but so close to the squad that he is deemed too valuable to do without.

On Jan. 9, he met with Allardyce in the morning to talk about whether he might go out on loan, to get regular playing time. Allardyce said no, because the team was missing players at the African Cup of Nations.

"But I left the meeting feeling good, I knew what was happening and where he saw me (fit in)."

Later that day he was shopping when he got a call that Allardyce was history.

"I had to laugh, I couldn't believe it,'' he said.

The former Bolton boss had only been in charge for 24 games.

A week later, Newcastle named Keegan, a former star player and beloved ex-manager on Tyneside, as the new boss.

"I thought they would have had someone right away. But they took their time and got a good manager, a very good manager,'' Edgar said in an interview yesterday at the club café.

Allardyce left nothing to chance, bringing in an army of experts and helpers. "We've got almost as much staff as we do players now,'' Edgar said.

There were ice baths after every training session and special protein drinks before and after games. Allardyce removed two seats from the stands so he could have TV monitors installed at his seat in the directors' box.

"I really liked him, I got along with him, '' Edgar said. "I thought he was a good coach, I enjoyed my time with him.''

But Keegan offers the Canadian a clean slate.

Edgar was at the gym early Thursday when Keegan arrived. The new manager introduced himself and started talking about Canada.

"He was asking about ice hockey. I told him I played ice hockey and he said he's been to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. He said it's a beautiful country.''

Keegan is his fifth manager at Newcastle, following Sir Bobby Robson, Graeme Souness, Glenn Roeder and Allardyce.

Bolton Wanderers are the visitors to St. James' Park on Saturday and Edgar has been included in the 18-man game squad. That means showing up at the stadium in a suit, but it doesn't guarantee dressing for the game. Two of those 18 don't make the starting 11 or the bench.

With Habib Beye and Abdoulaye Faye (Senegal), Geremi (Cameroon) and Obafemi Martins (Nigeria) away at the African Cup of Nations, the Newcastle roster is thin. Not to mention suspensions to Nicky Butt, Alan Smith and Emre.

Until everyone returns, Edgar probably won't get the loan move he desires. The Football League Championship, one level below the Premier League, is his likely destination.

"That's what I need to do, to get the experience of playing -- hopefully in the Championship -- somewhere where I'm playing week in and week out against men, in games that matter all the time.''

Edgar, who is under contract through the 2008-09 season, is appreciated at St. James' Park. Peter Beardsley, the former England and Newcastle star now on the coaching staff there, has watched him rise through the ranks since Edgar arrived at 14 in 2001.

"He's done very well,'' said Beardsley, whose playing career included a stint with the Vancouver Whitecaps. "He's obviously getting a chance now. . . . It's great news. He did really well in the academy for us and we were very impressed, and happy he's still here and very close to the first team.

"He's a great lad, he deserves all the success he's getting.''

Keegan calls Newcastle a "very special club'' and Edgar has seen firsthand the fanaticism of the fans.

"They're something different, something special. It takes a lot to please them but when they're happy, they're happy. When they're not happy, obviously everyone knows. A great set of fans. We don't have to play to fill our stadium. It's always going to be filled week in or week out.''

Toronto Maple Leafs fans might identify with the Toon Army. There is the Leaf Nation and the Geordie Nation. Both teams have rich histories but silverware has eluded them for decades.

Edgar has long known about Newcastle, given he has plenty of relatives here and his father Eddie played goal (making one appearance in the FA Cup in 1976) for the team.

Edgar Jr. made his senior debut at fullback against Bolton on Boxing Day in 2006 and earned a place in the Toon Army's hearts days later when he scored on a long-range screamer to give Newcastle a 2-2 draw with Manchester United in his home debut Jan. 1.

Edgar, who has started in three games and come on as a substitute in two, wants to make new memories.

"It's been a year now. I'm never going to forget it but I kind of want to put it in the past,'' the six-foot-two defender said of the goal.

Watching from the sidelines is never easy. But he is biding his time.

"It's tough, I'm not going to lie and say it's easy. It's tough not playing. Just being so close but not playing. Making the bench but not playing. . . . It is a stressful game but I love it.''

He also relishes being a member of the same team as the likes of Michael Owen, Damien Duff, Shay Given and others.

"I don't take it for granted and I work hard every training session.''

Edgar has made Newcastle his home. He just bought a house, which he shares with his bulldog puppy Lola.

The young Canadian says he gets recognized in town but says it's easier for him than most.

"It's fine. I don't get mobbed or anything like that, like some of the players,'' he said with a laugh.

"Some people recognize me and some people don't. And even if they do, they're good. They'll just say hello or good game or good goal against Man U. They still say that.''

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quote:Originally posted by SthMelbRed

Why post this twice in two different threads?

I started this comments. Who ever used my name 2 hours later is a puzzle to me and I do not appreciate it.

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