HIS team-mates, tongue-in-cheek, call him “Cafu,” but Carlos Edwards knows his own limitations.
Transformed into a regular right-back, under new boss Paul Jewell, for the first time in his career, Edwards is relishing the challenge of slotting into a back four.
He has had to curb his natural attacking instincts, which comes from at least 15 seasons as a flying winger, but Edwards has certainly not looked out of place. He is set to continue in that role at Barnsley today.
“They call me Cafu!” revealed Edwards, with reference to the new nickname devised by his team-mates, relating to the former legendary Brazilian right-back.
“But I’m not Cafu, I’m cat food!” joked Edwards.
Cafu played 142 times for Brazil, and was widely regarded as one of the world’s best ever right-backs. Edwards played 78 games for Trinidad & Tobago, but only a handful of these have been as a right-back.
However, he doesn’t see his current role, in the Ipswich Town team, as necessarily just a stop-gap measure.
“I think I’ve done well at right-back, though the manager might think different!” revealed Edwards.
“I’ve been thrown straight into the deep end, but as a professional you’ve got to expect the unexpected.
“It was a surprise when I was asked to play in that position. I was minding my own business on the training ground, as I always do, and was walking passed the gaffer when he asked me – ‘Have you ever played right back?’. And I said: ‘Yes.’ To me, I thought he was just having a bit banter.
“But I then walked onto the training pitch and there was my name on the defenders’ list! He obviously had his plans, and I think I’ve done fairly well considering I was asked just a few days before his first game.”
Edwards, 32, first moved from his home-land of Trinidad to join Wrexham, 11 years ago.
He recalled: “I played as a right wing-back at Wrexham, but it wasn’t the same position as a right-back. We played three in defence and I was like a headless chicken running up and down the right-hand side.
“I had too much energy then, but that energy starts going over the years!
“But this is the first time I have played in a back four, in consecutive games. I’ve had to learn to be more disciplined,” added Edwards, who has worked a lot with assistant manager Chris Hutchings.
And Edwards joked: “The first time I had actually worked with Chris, my forehead was so sore the next day because I had never headed so many balls in one training session.”