Beattie compared with the great Edwards

AS accolades go, Kevin Beattie has been afforded a few.The former Ipswich Town colossus has been voted the club's best-ever player in numerous polls over the years, but even he admits that being compared with the late, great Duncan Edwards is an accolade out of the top drawer.

Mike Bacon

AS accolades go, Kevin Beattie has been afforded a few.

The former Ipswich Town colossus has been voted the club's best-ever player in numerous polls over the years, but even he admits that being compared with the late, great Duncan Edwards is an accolade out of the top drawer.

Yet that is what Sir Bobby Robson and Sir Bobby Charlton have both said about Beattie on different occasions.

And with the 50th anniversary of the Munich air crash upon us, Beattie admitted this week it is a real honour to be mentioned in the same breath as the great Edwards.

He said: “To be honest it is a truly outstanding thing for someone to say about me.

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“Sir Bobby used to say it to me because he would call me 'diamond' and later on he started calling me 'tank'. And on occasions he would tell me to go out there and play like Duncan Edwards.

“That was a huge honour, because although I never saw Edwards play, I've seen plenty of videos of him and he was clearly a great player.

“It made me feel 100ft tall when Sir Bobby used to say that.”

But Sir Bobby is not the only person who compared Beattie with Edwards.

“Doing my work for radio, I have often been up to Manchester,” Beattie added.

“And Sir Bobby Charlton told me a similar thing to Sir Bobb Robson. He said I was the closest thing he had seen to Duncan Edwards on the pitch.

“Again, that's a huge compliment.

“Edwards was a centre-half, as I was, and liked going forward, like I did, so I suppose that's where the comparisons come.”

Sir Bobby Robson and Sir Bobby Charlton both played with Edwards and were in ideal positions to compare both men.

How tragic then that, in two very different manners, neither player achieved the greatness that could have been theirs.

Edwards and Beattie, now there's a centre-half pairing.