Edwards is the rap star Town signing who is ready to unleash himself as he targets another 'Promotion Ting'
- Credit: ITFC/PA
Ipswich Town have completed the signing of Kyle Edwards. Andy Warren looks at what the former West Bromwich Albion man will bring to the Portman Road party.
How Town got their man
CEO Mark Ashton says he has had Edwards in his sights for the entire summer, but this was ultimately a deal the Blues moved extremely quickly on.
Ashton and Town were well down the line with a move for Michael Jacobs of Portsmouth, who has played under Paul Cook before at Wigan, with the 29-year-old passing a medical and agreeing terms after a fee was fixed with the Fratton Park club.
But something changed over the weekend, leaving Jacobs’ camp in the dark as Town worked quickly to complete their move for Edwards in double quick time. Clearly, Edwards became available at a time when many expected him to move to the Championship and Ipswich Town took advantage.
Once again, Town have beaten others to the punch this summer.
A summer tour
- 1 More Suffolk petrol stations closed as PM plans action
- 2 Explained: What is causing the long queues at petrol stations?
- 3 How it all unfolded: Town grab late point against Owls in bizarre fashion
- 4 Lorry drivers being offered up to £60,000 and other bonuses as shortage bites
- 5 Dramatic pictures as huge barn fire breaks out near coast
- 6 Blaze spreads from classic car to bungalow next door
- 7 Suffolk petrol stations avoid closure as garages shut nationwide
- 8 Two arrested after man dies in crash
- 9 Petrol queues worsen rush-hour traffic
- 10 22 Suffolk schools have Covid-19 outbreaks
It’s been a busy summer for Edwards, following his Hawthorns release.
He was let go in the wake of the Baggies’ relegation from the Premier League – a season where he was on the fringes of the squad, playing just 113 minutes of league football.
His only involvement at all under Sam Allardyce, who was appointed in December, came from the bench in an FA Cup loss to Blackpool in January and he was linked with several loan moves which never materialised during the winter window.
So, while he clearly had ability, it didn’t come as too much of a surprise when he was released in the wake of the drop.
Neither was it a surprise when he garnered Championship interest once he was a free agent, with a trial at Reading likely to have led to a contract, were it not for the transfer embargo facing the Royals.
Next up was Bournemouth, where Edwards clearly impressed Scott Parker but ultimately left without a contract at the end of his spell training with the club.
All the while, there was an expectation Scottish giants Celtic may make a move but that never came, meaning Ipswich were able to swoop.
A big change
Moving away from West Bromwich Albion is going to be a big deal for a young man who spent 17 years at his boyhood club, having joined at the age of six.
He’s had one season away on loan, playing 28 games for Exeter during the 2017/18 campaign, but other than that the Dudley boy has spent his entire life at home.
That’s all going to change, now, with the 23-year-old moving the width of the country.
He’ll be reunited with former team-mate Rekeem Harper, of course, with the pair knowing each other well and often being spoken of in the same breath when it comes to their progression through the West Brom academy ranks and the ultimate reasons for their departures.
All those who saw Edwards play in Baggies colours will acknowledge he has real ability and potential, with the 2019/20 season his true first-team breakthrough. He played 26 Championship games as his side were promoted to the top flight, with then boss Slaven Bilic praising Edwards for ‘unleashing himself’ after one particularly impressive performance against Newcastle in the cup.
But, ultimately, at a club with Premier League ambitions, players are always going to encounter some serious competition for a place. And that’s exactly what eventually led to Edwards’ departure.
Grady Diangana, Matt Phillips and Matheus Pereira, as well as Callum Robinson and Karlan Grant, have all stood in his way, forming what proved to be an impenetrable barrier.
So, what can we expect from Edwards at Ipswich Town?
Watch his highlights packages and you’ll see a quick, skilful player with a positive first touch, who likes to drive inside on his right foot to attack the box and create chances.
That’s why he operates best on the left flank where, in theory, he is a perfect piece to fulfil Paul Cook’s desire for his wide attacking players to come inside while his flying full-backs stick to the touchline to cross.
What those highlights videos won’t show you is how big a part of his game his work rate is, which will again be music to Cook’s ears. He doesn’t carry passengers. He’s a good character, too, who is said to always have a smile on his face at the training ground.
There’s a feeling that, right now, Edwards is perhaps a mid to lower-end Championship player with real potential which, if he gets the games he would expect to in a good Ipswich side, could be unlocked. Adding more goals and assists to his game is what will take him to the next level.
It wouldn’t surprise too many in West Bromwich to see him become a top end Championship player in the near future.
Edwards has yet to be assigned a squad number at Town.
He wore 21 throughout the majority of his West Brom career, having started with 42 as a teenager, but the former is now taken by Conor Chaplin.
He shares a birthday with Town’s current No.17, Ed Sheeran, so if he fancied a sentimental shirt number then that one is sadly out, too.
Assuming he isn’t going rogue and taking the No.2 shirt – a big no, no – then the lowest available to his is 13 (unlucky for some) or, failing that, just about anything from No.25 upwards.
There’s only one goal at Portman Road this season – promotion.
And if they are successful in their quest, Edwards may just need to grab his microphone again.
West Brom’s promotion at the end of 2019/20 led to the youngster releasing a rap track under the name ‘Edwardo’ and called ‘Promotion Ting’.’
“It's a promotion ting, won't lie, this ting weren't easy,” it goes. “Right now, I'm suuuuuper gassed 'cause I know the Prem's going to see me."
It’s actually pretty good.
The four-minute track is packed with shoutouts to team-mates while this line, describing a goal he scored at Nottingham Forest, tells you everything you need to know about his biggest attributes.
"Kicked off in Notts, the game was all correct. Chopped in with the right foot, then I had to slap that one with the left."
It’s had nearly 150,000 views on YouTube.
He’ll get plenty more on top of that if Ipswich can give him promotion 2.0 next May.