English defender Tom Edward’s saw his time with New York Red Bulls come to an end, as the 23-year-old shifted his services to Barnsley ahead of the English transfer deadline.
Edwards arrived in New York on loan from Stoke City at the beginning of 2022; this loan agreement followed a previous stint with the Red Bulls last season. The defender compiled 51 appearances for RBNY in total and became a regular starting XI choice while nabbing two assists during his time at the club.
His position on the RBNY team came into question in August when the Red Bulls announced that Edwards would no longer be available due to personal reasons. And then, just before the English transfer window closed, England’s League One side Barnsley revealed they had signed the youngster on loan.
While the Red Bulls failed to reveal the reasons for his absence in August, inside information has suggested that Edwards returned to the UK to support his pregnant girlfriend, thus giving him an extra motive in his move to Barnsley.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Edwards commented when initially signing with the League One club. “I have been across the pond for a long time now, so to come back over to England and play for such a big club, I’m delighted.
“I’ve obviously come down today for the first time, I’ve enjoyed my time, and I’m just ready to get going.”
NY Red Bulls coping without Edwards?
The NY Red Bulls have seen positive defense results since Edwards’s departure. Coach Gerhard Struber has opted to field Aaron Long when playing three at the back, which has been the manager’s primary move. However, Struber has occasionally played four in defense and utilized the center-back services of John Tolkin. His squad’s place in the Eastern Conference (3rd) is healthy, the playoffs are in sight, and the squad also has options at right-back should they require this position to be filled, as the club instantly signed Kyle Duncan on loan from the Belgian side KV Oostende.
With or without Edwards, the Red Bulls are looking in great shape to challenge for the 2022 MLS Cup, and with Caesars New York Sportsbook offering a varied selection of betting odds on their future success, they’re still a tempting proposition to place in the betting slip.
Since Edwards’ departure, the club has won 4 of their 6 MLS meetings, and two of those encounters have provided plus-money returns at the sportsbooks. However, this isn’t a reflection on Edwards; their success may have been greater with him in the squad. That said, it’s evidence that NYRB will be fine without the English defender.
Whether you’re a gambling man or not, it’s evident that New York Red Bulls have become a sure bet in MLS fixtures this term, with 50 points on the board and a 3rd place positioning in the MLS Eastern Conference standings, don’t be surprised if the Empire State soccer club give the opposing teams a real challenge in the playoffs.
Tom Edwards is back in the UK
Edwards has been involved in multiple loan deals, having played for Fleetwood Town during the 2020/21 season. But it wasn’t until he arrived in the United States that his true capabilities came to light.
The 47 starting appearances that Edwards made for NYRB allowed him to prove his worth, and he’s undoubtedly evolved into a player who’s ready for a competitive 90 minutes of action on a weekly basis.
Having returned to the UK, Edwards is on another loan instead of returning to his parent club Stoke City. Barnsley’s League One hopes during the 2022/23 season haven’t gone to plan thus far, but they’ve notably allowed just nine goals through eight matchdays.
When speaking on the arrival of Edwards, Barnsley’s Football League World fan pundit Joe Beardsall remained optimistic: “It’s difficult to say how impressive Tom Edwards is going to be at this stage. I haven’t seen too much of him, but I know he’s gone and played in the MLS under Struber, actually, I believe, who is a former Barnsley boss, and I know he’s got a decent amount of appearances for a young lad, so that’s good that he’s played quite a bit of men’s football.
Beardsall continued: “It’s hard to know what to expect until he puts on the red shirt and he starts playing, but we did need some right-back cover; that was one of the two main positions we needed filling alongside a striker, so the fact that we’ve managed to get someone in is a good start. Obviously, only time will tell to see how good he is and whether he will be an adequate replacement for Callum Britain, whom we lost in the summer.”
As Beardsall mentioned, gauging a performance rating on Edwards under the Barnsley banner isn’t obtainable as of now. His performance level when playing English football is minimal, having spent most of his playing time during his loan spell at NY Red Bulls.
The last time we saw Edwards compete in England was during his minor stint at Fleetwood. He wasn’t a regular starter and only competed in a handful of games. This doesn’t reflect on his skill level, nor does it suggest he wasn’t talented enough, but he simply wasn’t gifted the same opportunities that he was in America.
Having played thousands of minutes at the highest level in America, taking on the English third tier should provide different results this time around. He has garnered the experience necessary while competing against some world-class opposition, so it feels like he can obtain a regular position on the starting eleven in League One at the very least.