CARLOS EDWARDS feels he is finally recapturing his form of two years ago – after admitting his exile at the hands of Roy Keane made him doubt his Premier League future.
After recovering from the broken leg which laid waste to his first full season in red and white, the Trinidad and Tobago winger was looking forward to a new start – but Keane left him frustrated.
Shipped out to Championship promotion-chasers Wolves, Edwards began to rebuild his shattered career at Molineux.
However, Keane ended his loan spell early and brought the midfielder back to sit on the bench – something which left Edwards questioning whether he should seek a permanent exit from the Stadium of Light.
Those thoughts have been pushed to the back of his mind since Ricky Sbragia took over, with Edwards at last believing he has a chance of a sustained run in the first team.
After returning from international duty in good shape, the winger is set to play some part at Arsenal tomorrow.
Edwards said: “I had utmost respect for the former manager.
“However, there is a point in your career where you draw a line, take a deep breath and look at your own career. You have to ask yourself – is this for me? Is it time to move on?
“I think he did not give me an opportunity to prove myself and I think he off-loaded me a bit too early.
“However, he did me a favour because I am back at Sunderland now and every day I am growing a little bit more in confidence.
“I do not know if the supporters can see it, but my team-mates are starting to see the Carlos Edwards who was there before we were promoted. I am thankful for that.
“I know I have their full support, even the manager, and I will just to continue to blossom in every way possible – hopefully I can win back my starting place.”
While Edwards felt frozen out by Keane, his relationship with Sbragia is blossoming.
The new Sunderland manager has eased the fear of failure at the Stadium of Light – and encouraged a more informal atmosphere around the training ground.
Edwards says the players will continue to defy him on one thing – despite his reluctance to take on the title they want to call him “gaffer.”
Edwards added: “I was buzzing when he took the job because he is an individual I rate very highly.
“He is now my manager. He still does not like us to call him gaffer, but that is what he is.”
Sunderland will be without the suspended Phil Bardsley tomorrow. Either recent loan signing Tal Ben-Haim or Paul McShane will deputise.