There is perhaps no better accolade in football than being compared to Lionel Messi. But that was exactly the praise given by Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino to teenager Marcus Edwards.
If Edwards’ recent goal against Liverpool under-23s is anything to go by, there was a degree of truth Pochettino’s comparison. The 19-year-old is giving glimpses of what he can provide Tottenham in the future.
But from Pochettino’s perspective, there is no need to wait to immerse Edwards (valued at 450k on Transfermarkt.co.uk) into the Tottenham first team. With rumours that other youngsters at Tottenham are facing a loan away from the north London club, Edwards is worth keeping.
As Tottenham fans saw with 21-year-old Josh Onomah, Pochettino likes to keep hold of his young players for a season or so, occasionally giving them appearances, before he loans them out. Perhaps he believes that he has the best chance at developing these players if they are kept under his wings. But once they have had a taste of the first team, the Argentinian manager decides to loan them out to give them more game time.
With ten days remaining in the transfer window for Europe and the Championship (for loan signings), it looks as though Edwards may be staying at Tottenham at least until January. This is a perfect platform for him to slowly be given a taste of football’s highest level.
His elusive movement and dribbling is exactly what Tottenham want, particularly when they seemed to pursue attacking midfielders and wingers more than any other position during the transfer window. In a world with the likes of Kylian Mbappé and Marcus Rashford, 19 doesn’t even seem that young any more.
So there is absolutely no harm in keeping Edwards for a season at the new White Hart Lane. Pochettino may be unearthing a gem for the future, and it is worth holding out for.