Rising Peterborough star Ronnie Edwards on life with England

Spinach in your omelette? You don’t get that at Peterborough! Rising star RONNIE EDWARDS is not at a glamorous club like most of his England U20 team-mates, but already has over 60 games under his belt and is eyeing World Cup glory this summer

  • Ronnie Edwards is a rare England youth international at a lower league side
  • The centre back has made over 60 first team appearances at Peterborough
  • Edwards believes his experience in League One has made him eager to succeed 

England’s squad for this summer’s Under 20 World Cup will largely be plucked from top clubs like Chelsea, Manchester City and Spurs.

Peterborough’s Ronnie Edwards is an honourable exception, though his humble surroundings are compensated by more than 60 first-team matches for his League One side — experience most of his fellow Young Lions lack. Tonight, the 19-year-old centre back faces Germany at City’s academy stadium in an important warm-up for May’s World Cup in Indonesia.

Team-mates include Chelsea’s Carney Chukwuemeka, Mateo Joseph (Leeds) and Sam Edozie (Southampton) who have tasted Premier League football this season. Plus Samuel Iling-Junior (Juventus) and Jamie Bynoe-Gittens (Borussia Dortmund), who have played in Serie A and the Bundesliga respectively.

Even so, Edwards — who has attracted interest from Brentford, Leicester and Crystal Palace — doesn’t regret his alternative career pathway.

‘I know I’m in the lowest league in our squad but there is a reason I’m picked to play,’ he says confidently. ‘It might look like a negative from the outside but you can turn it into a positive because you can’t take away the games and experience I’ve had. Some of the lads are used to the best facilities with their clubs but going to St George’s Park makes me grateful and eager to succeed.

Ronnie Edwards is one of few England under-20 players playing for non-top flight teams

Edwards, right, has made more than 60 first team appearances for League One Peterborough

The centre back is expected to be key part of England’s squad for the Under-20 World Cup

‘The pitches are unbelievable and there’s a chef who asks if you want spinach in your omelette. The food at Peterborough is fine but it’s a set menu — you have what you are given!

‘I wouldn’t change anything that’s happened so far — not even some of the dressing rooms where the showers are cold and you can’t move about!

‘I’m learning the nitty-gritty side of football which can also help playing for England. There’s no jealousy of the other lads. If anyone does well, we speak or message on Instagram.’

Edwards grew up in Harlow and was taken to West Ham’s old Upton Park ground by his dad to watch players like Rob Green, Scott Parker and Carlton Cole. His breakthrough came in 2020, when Darren Ferguson signed him from Barnet for Peterborough.

‘I was impressed by the gaffer, but I didn’t realise who his dad was until I’d signed and my dad told me!’ Edwards admits. ‘Obviously I knew about Sir Alex Ferguson and his massive contribution to football but I was only 17 and didn’t put two and two together.

‘I love working for him. There are high demands and he will put you in your place. The way he sets the standards, I can imagine he’s a bit like his father.’

Edwards was part of the England Under-19 squad who were crowned European champions

Edwards admitted to being starstuck when Gareth Southgate addressed the Under-19 side

One famous manager Edwards has come across is Gareth Southgate, who gave the then Under 19s a pep talk before they became champions of Europe last year, beating Israel in the final. 

‘We had a meeting with him at St George’s pre-camp and we discussed how to deal with situations, how to keep a strong mindset. All the important stuff for a big tournament,’ reveals Edwards. ‘We came away feeling a bit starstruck. After we won the final, I sank to my knees and went crazy with the boys. It was the best feeling of my career.’

It is probably only a matter of time before Edwards joins the rest of his England team-mates at a higher level. It is not a challenge that daunts him.

‘You never know until you are thrown in the deep end but I always back myself in a humble way,’ he says. ‘I think I would be capable of playing for a Premier League team.’ 

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