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Family Affair: The Edgars

27 December 2012

When Burnley defender David Edgar first arrived in England from Canada, there was no question of which club he wanted to play for.

Edgar had grown up dividing his time between the country of his birth and Newcastle, where he has family, and where his father once played before joining Hartlepool United and New York Cosmos in a six-year career.

"I got a good taste of my dad's career when I used to come over to Newcastle," explains Edgar. "I used to watch as much football as I could and I knew how big of a deal it was. When you watch games at a stadium you get a feel of what it means to the players and the fans and I was hooked.

"We have huge family ties with Newcastle, it's only my sister and I that were born in Canada, so it made perfect sense for me to try and begin my career there.

"As a youngster, I was always back and forth between Newcastle and Canada and I knew that if I was going to give playing in England a go that my dream would be to play for Newcastle United."

At a young age, Edgar was excelling at several sports, not just football but it was one of the Magpies' Premier League rivals that finally helped him decide which sporting path to take.

"When I was 10 or 11 I came over and played in a tournament and played pretty well, even impressing some guys from Manchester United. At that stage I was too young to really know what I wanted to do or make that kind of move.

"Yet I remember thinking it was a good feeling knowing that such a big club were interested, and it was around that stage that I started to think football was something I could actually take pretty seriously.

"Before I came to England I was playing in the top league over in Canada, the highest level for my age group. But I was also playing other sports, as football wasn't the main one over there. I was doing a lot of athletics and ice hockey, but I guess my family ties helped push me towards football.

"At one stage I thought I might have had a career in ice hockey. I was playing at a very high level in that, too, but it was when I came over here on my summer holidays that football took its hold.

"I would come over to see dad and of course I was given a taste of football culture in the North East. That's what made my mind up in the end, I knew then that I wanted to play football."

Edgar junior might have been keen to follow his father's career path, but he wasn't tempted to follow in his footsteps when it came to playing position.

Instead of donning the gloves and playing in goal like his dad, David wanted to play in an outfield position.

"I never had that inclination [to play in goal]. I always wanted to play out on pitch, like I guess most kids did. You never had many players wanting to go in goal.

"I remember when I used to play with my dad and we would swap roles and I'd have a go in goal, but I knew I always wanted to play on pitch."

Once signed professional, as a versatile defensive player, the early stages of his career looked promising.

He and the Toon were struggling at the wrong end of the Premier League table, though.

"There was no other club that I wanted to play for. I had seen them play for so many years as a kid and to actually play for them was all I wanted to do. I remember scoring on my debut against Manchester United, but there were so many good moments for me at Newcastle.

"I remember playing well after coming on pretty early in a game against West Ham [United] and there was another match, away at Stoke [City], when we were in a relegation battle and came back to draw in what was a key game. They all stand out, but obviously that goal against United was a big moment."

Unfortunately, Edgar and his team-mates couldn't prevent Newcastle from being relegated from the top flight.

As uncertainty followed, the now 25-year-old was forced to consider his options. He eventually decided to join Burnley in 2009.

"It was tough leaving Newcastle. At the time the club was in a state of upheaval because we had just been relegated and we didn't really know what was going on with the manager.

"I was at a stage where I just wanted to play a bit more football, but it was a big decision to leave the city and my friends and family behind. But it was what I had to do to make sure I played more football."

Edgar is now in his fourth season at Turf Moor and he's loving every minute of it.

And not just the football club, he's also a fan of the division the Clarets are competing in.

"Anyone can beat anyone else in the Championship. It's 100mph, every minute of every game it's really competitive. It's so tight all the way through the division to the extent where two or three wins together can put you in the Play-Offs.

"Any team that can put any kind of run together can climb the table pretty quickly and occupy those Play-Off positions. It's a very competitive league and I enjoy the hustle and bustle of it."

Unsurprisingly, Edgar hopes to return to the top flight following his Newcastle experience.

And he feels his current employers have a special weapon in their armoury when it comes to challenging at the top.

"Charlie [Austin] is a natural goalscorer. When he was on that run of goals, everything that came to him was going in. 'Chaz' scored goals in the lower leagues before he came here and he's proved he's a tough player at this level. He's strong and good in the air, I'm just pleased that he's on my team and that I don't have to play against him.

"I think every player wants to play at the highest level," he continues. "We all want to play at the top, against the best teams and in the biggest stadiums.

"I've experienced it and so I'm keen to get there and show what I can do. I'd love to play at the top level with Burnley if possible. I love the club and it would be great to get back to the level I was playing before."

And should Sean Dyche's men string some form together and challenge at the top, no-one would be prouder than David's dad.

"My dad now comes out and watches when he can, just as I used to when he played. I was very young when he played for the New York Cosmos so I didn't really have that many opportunities to go and meet the players.

"We have some signed shirts from the likes of Pele, though, and plenty of cool pictures of him with some of the guys, which are pretty nice keepsakes to have."

And if David has his way, his father will be able to hang his own keepsakes on the wall - mementos of his son's achievements in reaching the top flight with Burnley.

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