It is certainly not uncommon for a West Ham United fan to fulfill the dream of playing in the famous claret and blue jersey. East London-born Mark Noble and Flynn Downes have both represented the Hammers, and lifelong fan Kate Longhurst has had a chance to play for the womens team.
The next name to possibly follow in Noble and Longhurst's footsteps is Peterborough United defender Ronnie Edwards. Edwards has moulded himself into one of League One's best centre-backs ever since he joined the Posh, and his strong defensive displays are seeing him linked with moves to Championship clubs. Crystal Palace is even rumoured to be interested in signing him.
West Ham will aim to fill in for 35-year-old Angelo Ogbonna, whose contract expires at the end of the season. Twenty-year-old Edwards should be a name under consideration - and it is not just because of his personal ties to West Ham.
Ronnie Lee Edwards
Place of Birth
1x U19 European Championship, 1x Peterborough United Player of the Season
Edwards grew up in Essex and London. When he was nine years old, he joined Barnet and stayed with the club throughout his childhood. He was offered a trial at Peterborough United when he was 17 years old, and he signed a professional contract shortly afterwards.
The international stage has been greatly beneficial for Edwards in terms of his career and recognition. He was a part of the England team that won the U19 European Championship in 2022, and he played for his country at the 2023 U20 World Cup in Argentina. Although England did top its group, it was knocked out in the round of 16 after a 2-1 defeat to Italy.
West Ham has previously tried to bid for Edwards and was rumoured to have made a £4,000,000 bid for him last August, and Swansea City had four bids rejected. Peterborough has shown a tough stance to keep hold of its best defender, but it may have to accept that he will be sold soon.
STYLE OF PLAY
Edwards has shown maturity and responsibility at a young age. During international tournaments, he was able to be a leader at the back and to make decisions from a defensive standpoint. This was a key component to England's success at the U-19 European Championship in 2022.
Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson is known to heavily rotate his team selections and positions of players, and Edwards is no exception to this managerial style. Edwards has occupied the left- and right-footed centre-back roles as a result, but he does not seem to falter in either position. That said, he is naturally right-footed.
He prefers to make short passes to fullbacks and towards the midfield, but he can attempt long passes in order to start attacks.