Evening Telegraph (First Edition)

United boss was after calamitous

- Ryan Edwards. BY EWAN SMITH

RECALLED Ryan Edwards has opened up on Jim Goodwin’s decision to drop him, Twitter trolls and his Dundee United future.

United captain Edwards was left out of his side’s draw at Livingston after making mistakes in the second half of the 3-1 loss to Aberdeen.

Edwards was almost an everpresen­t last term and led his side into Europe with a fourth-placed finish, with four goals and 10 clean sheets.

And while being given the axe was a bitter pill to swallow, straight-talking Edwards insists Goodwin was right to leave him out at Livi.

His Dons display also sparked social media fury among United fans, with some even privatemes­saging Edwards to tell him he “shouldn’t play for the club again”.

But Edwards has never been a person to shirk a challenge on or off the park, having previously overcome a battle with testicular cancer.

Edwards made an impressive return to the United side in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with St Mirren.

And he is fully focused on the final nine games of the Scottish Premiershi­p season.

“I had an honest conversati­on with the manager after what happened with Aberdeen,” Edwards told Tele Sport.

“I said to him I respected his decision to leave me out against Livingston.

“There were no complaints after my second-half performanc­e at Aberdeen.

“I’d love to have stood up to him,

looked him in the eye and had an argument about it.

“I’d love to have questioned why he was leaving me out.

“But, because of the way things went, I held my hands up and agreed with it. I respect his decision.

“I know I’ve been a good player for Dundee United in my time here.

“But, by the standards I’ve set, that second half against Aberdeen wasn’t acceptable.

“It’s one I have to take on the chin and move on.

“Any player would want to stay in the team and try and fight their way through it that way.

“But he took me out and I deserved it. Now that I’m back in it’s up to me now to try and stay there.

“As an experience­d pro, it’s easier to come back and slot straight back into the side.

“It’s easier to concentrat­e on your own game and get your house in order before you start ragging all the other lads around you.”

In the hours that followed the Aberdeen loss, Edwards was personally targeted by United fans on social media.

Publicly, many called for him to be axed.

Privately, via direct message,

others went even further. Edwards, 29, added: “You can try to block social media out. That’s fine.

“But when you get private messages you can’t hide away from them.

“When your own fans are sending you direct messages saying you shouldn’t play for the club again what can you do?

“I got a load of messages from fans. “It’s not unique to me and I’m sure a lot of our players have over the course of the season.

“But after the Aberdeen match it was my turn to get it.

“I accept it’s part of the game.

“If you can’t take it then you shouldn’t be playing.

“You feel like picking the phone up and getting back to people but you can’t.

“That’s the way the game is now. You can’t hide from that side of it.

“I’m an experience­d player and I can handle it.

“I’m at a big club and have to take it on the chin, while continuing to believe in myself.”

Edwards’ future is also uncertain as he enters into the final few months of his current deal at United.

Rumours circulated that he has penned a pre-contract elsewhere, with talk of a move back to English football.

But Edwards insists he only has one thing on his mind between now and summer – keeping Dundee United in the top flight.

Edwards, who has starred 107 times for United, said: “I’ve had people contacting me saying ‘What’s this talk that you’ve signed a deal?’

“I’m not focused on that at all. All I’m concentrat­ing on is the fact we have a massive nine games left in our season here.

“Whether I’m playing in them or not, the club don’t need rumours going about on my future.

“It’s not important at the minute. “The only important thing is we try to win the games that will keep this club in the league.”

 ?? ?? BELOW PAR: Dundee United captain Ryan Edwards, right, admits he had
BELOW PAR: Dundee United captain Ryan Edwards, right, admits he had
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