Former Tottenham Hotspur youth starlet Marcus Edwards returned to his old stomping ground to haunt his former employers on Wednesday evening, with the diminutive forward having helped his current side Sporting CP to claim a 1-1 draw in what was a dramatic Champions League encounter in N17.
For a sport that so often delivers the unexpected, there was something somewhat inevitable about the 23-year-old making his mark against Antonio Conte’s side, with the Englishman having sparked early nerves among the home crowd with a stunning strike from range to break the deadlock.
The 5-foot-6 sensation skipped past a sea of white before unleashing a lethal driven effort from distance that deceived the diving Hugo Lloris, having previously come close to netting an even better strike when the two sides met earlier this season, after producing a mesmeric solo run in a manner arguably akin to a certain Lionel Messi.
The legendary Argentine was a figure whom a young Edwards was compared to by former Lilywhites boss Mauricio Pochetinno back in 2016, with that comparison having perhaps somewhat unfairly raised expectations for a player who would eventually go on to enjoy just 15 minutes of senior action for the north Londoners.
For whatever reason – be it the player’s reported ‘behavioural problems‘ as stated by Pochettino – the highly-rated asset simply never made the grade at Spurs, with chairman Daniel Levy green-lighting his exit in the summer of 2019, after 18 months on loan at Norwich City and Dutch outfit Excelsior.
Having made what most would consider a bold move abroad to Vitoria Guimaraes, the London-born ace went on to sparkle for the Primeira Liga side, scoring 20 goals and providing 14 assists in 96 games all competitions, before sealing a move to Lisbon in January.
That move – which saw the former England youth international sign a four-year deal that includes a £52m release clause – has proven particularly fruitful for the blistering talent, with Edwards having laid on 16 goal contributions in just 31 games since then.
That tally includes a haul of five goals and five assists across all fronts so far this term, with it having been no real surprise to see the £18m-rated gem maintain that form on Wednesday night, having again proven “decisive” for his side, as per journalist Oliver Young-Myles.
That recent outing – in which the playmaker earned the Man of the Match award – did see the electric talent lose possession 11 times from his 36 touches, although that was seemingly as a result of his willingness to try and create openings for his side, having shown no signs of nerves against his former club.
Such a performance will likely have shown Tottenham, and the aforementioned Levy, just what they missed out on, having failed to give Edwards – who club legend Glenn Hoddle dubbed a “terrific player” – a proper chance at the club at first-team level.