Yesterday, Nashville SC announced the signing of veteran defender David Edgar, whose previous stops include Premier League and MLS clubs, and who still has another month before officially entering the post-30 ages. That’s… that’s not bad.
So what’s thew catch? He’s coming off a very serious knee injury.
Edgar, a 30-year-old native of Kitchener, Ont., tore the meniscus and the posterior and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee while on vacation in Arizona in December 2016.
That accident? A hit-and-run golf cart-versus-car affair that the golf cart (and Edgar’s knee) came out on the rougher end of.
That cost him the entire 2017 MLS season with the Vancouver Whitecaps, and after only joining the side in the second half of 2016 (he made eight appearances plus one with now-defunct Whitecaps 2 immediately after signing because the Whitecaps were in the middle of a roadtrip and he hadn’t practiced with them yet), he didn’t get to experience much in his first professional stint in his home country of Canada.
Prior to his brief MLS stop, he had been in England’s League One with Sheffield United, the Championship with Huddersfield and Birmingham (all from 2014-16), with a Burnley team that bounced between the Premier League and Championship 2009-14, including a stint in the Championship with Swansea on loan in 2010, and prior to that, Newcastle United (2004-09, all in the Prem), through whose academy he became a professional footballer.
All told, he has 23 Premier League appearances, the most recent in 2010, with two goals and an assist during his time in the world’s top overall league. That is not a ton of experience. It is a heck of a lot more than the average USL player.
Let’s get back to the recent: Edgar’s first game back after the December 2016 knee injury was an international friendly for the Canucks just a couple weeks ago, in which they defeated New Zealand 1-0. He was subbed on for the final 31 minutes of the contest (actually 35 after four minutes of stoppage), during which he didn’t accrue any stats and New Zealand managed only one shot, that coming from outside the box and not threatening the frame.
Since he’s a centerback, highlights are slim (also: there’s an “Edgar Davids” out there, making it even tougher). Here’s a goal against El Salvador from back in 2016 before the injury:
Here’s a borderline golazo against Jamaica:
Edgar is a big dude – at 6-4, he’s tied with Liam Doyle for the second-tallest field player behind only Tucker Hume – and is known for organization, positionally sound play, and (at least before the knee injury) a bit of a threat going forward – as you can see on the El Salvador goal, which came from the run of play. What you don’t see there is “elite athlete,” but I think a guy who’s played in the Premier League and isn’t super-old is going to be a plus athlete in the USL as long as the knee is back to full strength.
He strikes me as a starting-caliber player if he hasn’t lost explosiveness in recovering from the knee injury. He shouldn’t slot in right away, but with a couple weeks to integrate with the squad, should challenge for one of the center-back spots.
His signing gives Nashville SC the necessary depth to continue playing with three at the back (an underrated thought about last week’s lineup – with both London Woodberry and Jordan Dunstan suffering injuries, there wasn’t the depth to have many healthy backups if three centerbacks were on the field at the same time).
Is he a long-term guy? At the position, his age in the first season of MLS – turning 33 within a couple months of the season’s beginning – isn’t too old, but we also don’t know how effective he is going to be right now in his first action back on the field. If he hasn’t lost anything, he’ll certainly be able to prove himself over the next two years, and making the jump wouldn’t be out of the question.