WA attacker Ryan Edwards could find himself as a potential Socceroos bolter for next year’s Asian Cup after impressing during pre-season matches on his return to English Championship club Reading.
Edwards, 20, has been on Reading’s books for four years and spent last season on loan at Perth Glory.
He is yet to feature in a senior international match for the Socceroos, but has represented Australia at under-20 and under-23 level.
Edwards is a chance to make his league debut for Reading in their Championship opener against Wigan Athletic on August 9 after Royals manager Nigel Adkins highlighted the talented attacking midfielder as the standout player of the summer.
“From day one when we did the fitness tests, we saw him and thought we’ve got a player here who can run all day long,” Adkins told Get Reading.
“Then when you see him on the pitch, his movement is phenomenal.
“He’s always showing for the ball, always looking to get into space and get between the lines. He’s got a penetrating pass on him as well.”
In an outstanding pre-season to date, Edwards scored the winner in a 1-0 win at Exeter City and set up goals during the 1-1 draw at Yeovil Town and last week’s 2-0 win at Wycombe Wanderers.
“Ryan’s got an opportunity and he’s grasping it,” Adkins said.
“He’s already scored this pre-season, he laid one on for Pavel (Pogrebnyak) at Yeovil and for Jake (Taylor) at Wycombe.
“I’m sure he’ll continue to grow in confidence.
“His attitude is spot on. I’ve always said if you have a good solid attitude and you’re prepared to work hard, you will keep improving.”
Edwards endured a difficult year-long loan stint with Perth Glory last season after being brought back to WA with his brother Cameron to play under their father, then-Glory coach Alistair Edwards.
Edwards made 15 appearances for Glory but was restricted to a fringe role after Alistair Edwards was sacked as coach in December.
Edwards said his time in the A-League had made him stronger.
“Going back to Australia was really good for me, to get experience and be treated as a first-team player,” Edwards said.
“That’s definitely made a real difference since coming back here.
“I feel really amongst it now with the first-team boys. I feel a real part of it.”