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It hardly seemed fair. It could not be. On Saturday afternoon, Trinidad and Tobago striker Hector Sam breathed new life into a lacklustre Wrexham outfit with a lively performance and the game's only goal as they snatched a precious 1-0 win at home to visiting Oldham Athletic.


Wrexham sweeper Craig Morgan was adjudged Man of the Match for a steady performance, which included a goal-line clearance, while Welsh international defender Steve Roberts, captain Darren Ferguson and lanky stopper and Sam's compatriot, Dennis Lawrence, also worked tirelessly for the cause.

In contrasting kit, Oldham's lone forward Chris Killen, energetic midfielder Neil Kilkenny and goalkeeper Les Pogliacomi did themselves proud as well.

But it was winger Carlos Edwards, Wrexham's third Trinidad and Tobago international, who left the most lasting memory from the League One affair although he faded badly after the interval and failed to conjure up anything particularly threatening in the first half either.

He was the best player on the field although a videotape of the match would suggest otherwise.

In an age that swears by technology, it can be difficult to disabuse anyone of the notion that a picture-still or motion-can relay untruths. But it can and does.

I have seen enough Elvis Presley footage to last a lifetime but still sneer when I hear him referred to as "The King".

"But he has never even sung anything as memorable as The Beatles or Bob Marley," I argued.

"Maybe so," my aunt countered, "but you had to see him perform."

I shook my head as unconvinced as she was certain.

Yet, I am similarly frustrated when I try to explain the aura of France and Arsenal striker Thierry Henry to a disbelieving friend who chose to judge the player by the harsh light of television cameras and, to a lesser extent, statistics.

But the camera, which is trained to chase the ball, is incapable of relaying an intoxicating swagger or the intake of breath by 40,000 spectators when Henry tames the sphere and draws himself to his full height before nonchalantly flicking for a team-mate to allow a mass exhalation.

In short, television cannot capture charisma. Henry has it in bucket loads and so too, two divisions lower at unfashionable Wrexham, does Edwards.

His body language suggests that you are looking at someone special even before he has touched the ball.

The 26-year-old ex-soldier walks as though on a catwalk. Every movement is done with a deliberately understated flourish. Like someone trying to be humble and not quite pulling it off; sort of how your company CEO would look if he joined your department for a beer at lunch.

Even though Edwards shares the field with 22 persons, including the referee, he moves like a man who believes that everyone is there to watch him.

And he is not far wrong.

A football agent schooled me of the importance of a peep in the visitor's tea-room to catch out the surprise guests at any given fixture. On Saturday, I spied Blackburn Rovers' chief scout and former manager and player, Tony Parkes, while a Sheffield United representative was also reputedly present. Almost certainly, they were there to cast an eye on Edwards, whose contract expires this summer-no club worth their salt would make a purchase based solely on television evidence.

It is difficult to tell what their final verdict would be for a variety of reasons.

First, partly because of the mediocre quality within Wrexham's ranks, Edwards was double marked whenever he crossed the halfline. It is unusual for a wingback to be treated with such deference and Parkes was unable to gauge the player's ability to exploit space.

Despite the bustling and commitment of players, the ball does not stay in play as

long nor is it used as constructively in League One as it would be in the Premiership, so that Edwards was not in possession as much as anyone-barring the Oldham players-might have liked.

There was also the obvious fact that he faced mainly average defenders less used to guile and stopovers than in the higher leagues.

League One is not the most demanding level of football and the majority of Trinidad and Tobago Pro League players would not feel out of depth. Allow me to qualify that statement. Any Caribbean player who can survive freezing temperatures, blustery winds, sadistic referees, foul mouthed coaches, flying tackles and an ingrained prejudice against non-European players should do alright-and this is not factoring the inescapable culture shock.

Does not sound quite so easy now does it? Well, it isn't.

But Edwards has done better than merely hold his own. He was selected on the division All-Star team for two years running-an honour bestowed by his professional peers who vote for their own best 11 players-and Parkes and company do not show up merely to see his catwalk impression.

The boy can play.

He has superb balance and awareness on the ball. He dribbles, or rather caresses the ball, with either foot as easily as a point guard does with his hands. Like a matador, he always seems a step ahead of raging, brutish defenders.

Saturday's audience of 4,170 spectators murmured anxiously as Edwards dithered in possession and a vengeful defender stealthily moved in to clobber him from behind. Just as the Oldham defender smirked and readied his coup de grace, Edwards pivoted with a flourish and played in a teammate.

"Ole!"

Not that he always escaped. Oldham left back Adam Griffin scythed him down, midway though the first half, after taking exception to a neat shimmy. Edwards dusted himself off, with little external indication of displeasure, and looked for an open player from the resulting free kick. The Wrexham faithful cheered; Griffin, presumably, felt even more inferior.

But can Edwards make the likes of Gary Neville (Manchester United) and Ashley Cole (Arsenal) look silly?

It is worth noting that the smooth criminal is yet to torment CONCACAF defences as casually and gracefully as he does in League One. To be truthful, his international career so far is quite uninspiring.

Edwards is yet to score after 34 international senior caps. He has two Caribbean Championship gold medals but was a fringe player in both tournaments-he was used once off the bench in the 1999 edition and started just one match in a meaningless group fixture in 2001.

Bertille St Clair, in his earlier stint as head coach, did not select Edwards on his 2000 Gold Cup team while Brazilian Rene Simoes also overlooked him when he took T&T to the 2002 Gold Cup.

I prefer to trust my own eyes though and am certain of his improvement over the past three years. It is not so much his raw talent although he does possess some. He serves the ball well with either foot, has a deceptive turn and is athletic enough to chase the length of the flank for 90 minutes.

But it is Edwards' confidence and calm temperament, which tells me that he can stay afloat in more trying conditions. His knack for keeping his head in the face of provocation; his ability to churn out steady performances regardless of Wrexham's precarious position-financially and otherwise-and despite the uncertainty over his own future.

Scouts have been queuing up for over a year and he must have been silently praying for a big move last summer. Instead, he suffered a ruptured cruciate ligament in his knee on international duty last June that kept him inactive until after Boxing Day.

If he was frustrated, he hid it well. His commitment to the sinking ship that is Wrexham is unquestionable.

No camera or data sheet can detect or assess such qualities. But the discerning eye of a clever coach or scout would.

Edwards, like Henry, has what the French call "Je ne sais quoi"-a quality difficult to describe or express. Lucky devil.