The coach who nurtured Ryan Edmondson’s talent at York City believes he needs to play men’s football this season.
Steve Torpey, who moved the striker from York’s Under-16s to the Under-18s owing to his size and ability, hopes there will be opportunities for Edmondson in the first team this season.
But if not, he feels the 18-year-old would be better served with a loan spell than more Under-23s football.
Edmondson arrived at Bootham Crescent in 2015.
“He didn’t come into York until he was 15,” said Torpey.
“His stature and his size was a big influence, we moved him up from the Under-16s to the 18s.
“He would train with us when he could, but he was involved in all Under-18 games from when he was in the 16s.
“His physicality helped. He wasn’t shy, mixed with the group really well and fit in even though he wasn’t training with them on a day-to-day basis.
“He could compete against players who were two years older than him.”
And off the pitch, the teen had attributes that gave him a chance of making it.
"He's not shy, he's got a good personality, he'd come and greet you in the morning and come shake your hand," said Torpey.
"He's confident in his own ability I think, and confident amongst a group of players, which you need.
"There's leadership qualities he showed at York as well."
Edmondson’s progress was attracting interest.
He became the third-youngest player in York City history, coming off the bench at 16 years and 140 days.
Premier League clubs were hovering, but it was Leeds, the club he supported as a boy, who plucked him from the National League North.
“If anyone is doing well in games, especially in the Youth Alliance league we were playing in, people talk,” said Torpey.
“There were scouts at our games every week from clubs at higher levels. I know Burnley were quite keen on him, I think Leicester were as well but Leeds were the ones who made that commitment and made an offer.”
Just five months after accepting that November 2017 offer, a scholarship contract, Edmondson made his Whites debut at the age of 16.
A three-year deal followed in August 2018 and last season Edmondson captured the Professional Development League National title with the Under-23s.
Torpey is delighted for his former charge.
“I’ve watched his progression since he left York and it gives you great satisfaction that you’ve worked with the player and hopefully improved him.
“I think the time was right when he left. No disrespect to York, they were in the Conference at the time and to move up to the Championship with Leeds United was a great opportunity.
“He didn’t have to up sticks and leave, he’s from Knaresborough just around the corner.
“Everything seems to have fallen into place for him.”
Torpey’s current job as a regional coach educator for the PFA allowed him to link up with Edmondson again last season.
“I bumped into him probably three months ago,” he said.
“As a PFA staff we go in to deliver Level 2 coaching to the scholars. I was working with Andy Barlow, one of my colleagues, and Ryan was on the course.
“It was good to catch up with him to see how he’s getting on. He was really positive.
“I spoke to a few of the coaches down at Leeds and I think they’re really pleased with him.
“He’s still relatively young and he’s still got a long way to go but he’s doing the right things.”
Torpey, himself a 6ft 3ins target man in his playing days, scored Football League goals for Bradford City, Swansea City, Bristol City and Scunthorpe United. His career ended where Edmondson’s began, in non-league at York.
Experience of competitive men’s football will be key in Edmondson’s development, he says,
“He’s at that age where he needs to sample men’s football and if that’s at Leeds, brilliant.
“If the manager sees him of that calibre and he can be in and around the first team, fantastic.
“But I think he probably needs, in my humble opinion, to go and play senior football.
“With the 23s, where he’s scored lots of goals and done really well, is it the same as playing senior football in the League or even at the Conference level? Probably not, especially with the physicality he’s going to come across in the Championship.
“It’s a real good standard, the Championship, and to play at that level at 18, 19 would be a massive achievement.
“If not, I think he probably needs to go and play first-team football at whatever level his coaches decide.”