Ryan Edmondson on Aberdeen experience, Northampton Town loan, his Leeds United contract and being watched 'like a hawk' by Marcelo Bielsa

Ryan Edmondson might be set for another half a season away from Leeds United but knows his every step will be watched 'like a hawk' by Marcelo Bielsa.
BIG FOOTBALL - Leeds United's Ryan Edmondson says men's football is a far cry from the Under 23s and hopes to continue his development at Northampton Town while impressing Marcelo Bielsa. Pic: GettyBIG FOOTBALL - Leeds United's Ryan Edmondson says men's football is a far cry from the Under 23s and hopes to continue his development at Northampton Town while impressing Marcelo Bielsa. Pic: Getty
BIG FOOTBALL - Leeds United's Ryan Edmondson says men's football is a far cry from the Under 23s and hopes to continue his development at Northampton Town while impressing Marcelo Bielsa. Pic: Getty

The 19-year-old striker had no sooner returned to Yorkshire from a loan spell at Aberdeen than he was back in the car, making the trip down the M1 to sign for League One Northampton Town.

Gametime and getting a feel for men's football, which he admits is a big change from what he became used to for Leeds Under 23s, was key this season and at Aberdeen it was not as forthcoming as he or the Whites might have liked.

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He did, however, add competitive minutes to his CV with three Scottish Premiership starts, a host of cameo appearances, games against Rangers and Celtic and even European football, with a substitute appearance against Sporting CP in the Europa League.

"It was a great opportunity, for a 19-year-old lad, to go up and play in the Scottish Premiership," he said today after completing his medical and signing for the Cobblers.

"Aberdeeen is a big club. It was far from home but it was a learning curve and will hopefully benefit my career."

Still only a teenager, Edmondson believes this is a 'crucial point' of that career where he needs to play football. In Keith Curle he found a manager who has previously shown interest in allowing him to do that and, having failed to land the youngster on loan before, continued to tracked his progress until he could make the move happen.

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"I had spoken to Keith a couple of times and he had expressed interest persistently over the past couple of seasons, keeping a close eye on my development," said Edmondson.

"For a player that's amazing, you know he's monitoring you and your performances. Up in Aberdeen I didn't play so much but Keith still wants me here and that's amazing to know, that he's watched the games I've played and still made that impact. Hopefully I can play more regularly here and repay him."

And Edmondson is confident he can do that, having grown from the player Leeds signed from York City.

"I think I've developed a lot of attributes over the last few years," he said.

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"I used to be this big lumpy target man as a number nine but over the past couple of seasons at Leeds I've developed variations to my game. My main one is my work ethic, I'm a bit of a running horse, I just run around, pressing the back line, running in behind, I like to vary it. I want to score as many goals as I can, be a presence in the box. I think they've just been lacking a finishing touch so hopefully I can add that."

The bigger picture, he admits, is his Leeds United future. A fresh three-year deal earlier this season allows him to devote all his energy to the present, however. How he fares in the present will have a big say on what happens further down the line at Elland Road.

"I was thinking about a loan [last season] and my agent said to me about it last January but Leeds didn't want me going anywhere until I'd signed a new contract," he told the YEP.

"It definitely gave me that confidence that they still want me at the club, they still watch me closely. I spoke to Victor Orta and he said they wanted me to grab that experience of more first team action before I return to Leeds. When they're in the Premier League it's difficult for a youngster to push through at that standard, so I think you need to get yourself out there into lower league football to play regularly, get a feel for the men's game and hopefully improve yourself to get back to that level.

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"There's a bigger picture but you've got to focus on the here and now. I've come to Northampton to try and help the club and help myself develop a platform and get my name around. I want to come here, play well, play regularly and score goals, do the best we can do this season. If that helps me get towards Leeds' first team, amazing."

Edmondson knows full well that Bielsa, who recently revealed that he watches his loan players on a weekly basis, will be keeping very close tabs on how the striker performs in League One. It's an extra layer of accountability for the Leeds kids spending time away from Thorp Arch.

"A few of the televised games at Aberdeen were watched quite closely and I know Bielsa had asked for video clips of every game I'd played in, every minute and even training games when we did 11 v 11s," said the teen.

"Everyone at the club knows Bielsa will watch you like a hawk, everything about you, your body weight, your body fat, the amount of running you do in training and games. It's good he does that, it gives you that urge to keep on top of everything and keep yourself in the best condition possible."

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His immediate future now sorted, Edmondson will be able to knuckle down and try to fire Northampton to a position of greater safety in League One, while continuing his education in a footballing environment more than a little alien from the one he has grown up in.

"Under 23s football is very different to men's football, the amount of time you get on the ball is a bit fake at times," he said.

"Coming up through academies the football you play is very pretty, down on the floor, passes here and there. When you get to men's football some games are just a scrap, when conditions aren't perfect, you're not going to be playing on a carpet every week but you need those things in your locker, to adapt and thrive in that environment. The difference is massive, the physicality and tempo are completely different.

"Coming out on loan, it's big football, big physicality and a big test. Hopefully I can do well."