Sunday, 19 February 2012

TWINTERVIEW: Preston Edwards

However long and successful a career Preston Edwards goes on to enjoy, he is likely to be best (or worst) remembered for a short video clip on YouTube. More than 2.5 million people have watched the Ebbsfleet United goalkeeper being sent off just 10 seconds into this game against Farnborough, having been sold short by an under-hit backpass straight from kick-off. That afternoon, the Fleet lost 3-0 but the season ended on a brighter note for Edwards, with victory in the Conference South play-off final - against Farnborough.

Few could have forseen the dramatic upturn in fortune for Edwards after he was relegated with Grays Athletic in 2010. The Essex club dropped into the Ryman League and it came as a surprise to many when Fleet manager Liam Daish recruited Edwards during the summer. The signing proved to be inspired, though.

Edwards, 22, is enjoying a new lease of life at Stonebridge Road and his splendid form for Ebbsfleet has seen him earn - and keep - a spot in the England C squad. A red card in the Fleet's 3-2 win at Bath City was a rare blot on his copybook, but he was open and honest when I asked for a twinterview the following day. Fair play.

It's all kicked off between [David] Haye and [Dereck] Chisora. Are you a boxing fan? Did you watch the fight and what happened afterwards?

Love watching my boxing. Best sport after footy! I thought the fight with Haye [in the press conference] was better than the actual boring Klitschko fight.

I know, classic heavyweight stuff. Which three keepers should England take to Euro 2012?

Hart, Ruddy, Green – or me.

I suppose England C is the next best thing. What does it mean to be back in the squad?

It means a lot. Shows that my form is good and it's a reward for it.

What's the best pair of gloves you've ever had?

My pro gks gloves are the best ones I've ever worn!

That Farnborough red card features on your Twitter bio. In a way, is the record a badge of honour?

No no. It’s not something that I'm proud of. It’s just to let people know who I am and it's a little laugh as well.

Toughest striker(s) you've faced this season?

Liam Hearn [Grimsby] and Matty Blair [York]

You've probably saved more penalties than you've conceded since joining Ebbsfleet. What's your secret?

My secret is just to see what shape their run-up is. Then just go the way I think they will go.

A word about Saturday's game at Bath... Three points and a red card. Mixed feelings afterwards?

I'm extremely disappointed in myself. I let down my team, fans, management. I now miss the next three games and I'm gutted. They will have to get Joe [Welch] back or get another keeper in and that could lose me my position in goal just because of my stupid actions. However, I'm grateful we won the game with ten men. It could have been a lot worse.

The gaffer described it as a rush of blood. Was that about right?

It was just a rush of blood. I realised what I did straight away. Of course I won’t contest the red card at all. I apologised straight away.

I think the fans appreciated that. Whose results do you look out for on a Saturday evening, and in what order?

I look out for Millwall and Tottenham results... And all the results in our league

Who's the changing-room DJ and what music gets played before Fleet games?

It varies the music. Normally Shakesy’s iPod in there. I like his beats!

Three quick team-mate questions. Who's the toughest to face in training, who's the biggest moaner and who's the karaoke king?

Westy is the toughest to face for shooting, Stoney biggest moaner, Yado Mambo karaoke king.

Interesting. Who does the big man sing?

Just sings a lot to the songs. Makes me laugh.

OK, last three questions. What's your Fleet forecast for the rest of the season?

Is that we make sure we are mathematically safe and then go on for the rest of the season. Make sure we beat some bigger teams as well. We haven’t done too much of that!

Who's going to win the Conference and who's going up through the play-offs?

Fleetwood to win the league. Grimsby to win the play-offs.

Finally - you've got one tweet to tell the world about Ebbsfleet United. Go...

The world family club!

You can follow @Preston_Eddy on Twitter

England C host Italy in the International Challenge Trophy at Highbury Stadium, home of Fleetwood Town, on February 28.

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