This week’s England squad will surely come too soon for Marcus Edwards, but perhaps Sporting boss Ruben Amorim was right and the youngster is destined to one day play for his country.
That certainly seems like a fair assumption off the back of Edwards’ performance against Tottenham on Tuesday night, where he was the brightest spark during a 2-0 win for Sporting. The 23-year-old, who came through the youth ranks at Tottenham, was once likened to Lionel Messi by Mauricio Pochettino and he almost lived up to that billing tonight before half-time.
Picking the ball midway inside the Spurs half he skipped past multiple defenders, played a swift one-two, and was only denied by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris staying big. It was a moment that summed up Edwards’ bright performance and he will have surely reminded those in England about his talent.
Amorim has turned Sporting into an attractive side, who like to play out from the back, and Edwards is thriving for them as a false nine. He already has three goals and as many assists for them this season, and he was unlucky not to add to that tally against Spurs.
Edwards was at the heart of all his side’s best play and he was probably man of the match as they claimed a historic 2-0 win. His performance was certainly in contrast to Tottenham’s front three, who endured a frustrating and off-night.
The big debate before kick-off was whether Antonio Conte would stick with Son Heung-min, who has still yet to score a goal this season. The idea of dropping Son in the past would have been, in Antonio Conte’s own words, “crazy” but his struggles this season and the form of Dejan Kulusevski and Richarlison has made it viable.
Conte stuck with Son here in Lisbon though, leaving Kulusevski on the bench for the third game in a row, and Ben Davies coming in for Clement Lenglet was the only change from the side that beat Marseille last week.
Son, however, suffered another disappointing night as his barren run continues. He couldn’t really get into the game and most worrying of all for Tottenham was that he didn’t look like scoring either.
The same went for Harry Kane, who also struggled to make an impact, and it was only Richarlison who really got going - with the Brazilian having a goal ruled out for offside in the first half.
Despite their attacking struggles, you thought Tottenham would hold on for a point but they crumbled late on. First Paulinho headed home from a corner and then Arthur Gomes skipped in off the right flank to hammer one in.
It summed up a miserable night for Spurs, where one of their former players was arguably the standout performer; playing as a false nine and causing problems by dropping into pockets of space.
If Edwards keeps performing like this on the Champions League stage, who’s to say an England call-up couldn’t happen one day.