Edwards hopes Beckford’s England call-up helps keep Leyton Orient’s best talents at club
11:02 06 November 2014
Simon O'Connor Photography
Leyton Orient striker Jay Beckford has been called up to the England under-15 side and academy director Andy Edwards hopes the latest international will help youngsters realise their potential at the club.
Beckford will feature in Friday’s game against Northern Ireland in Belfast and he follows on from Charlie Grainger and Sam Roach’s selection for the under-18s and under-16 training camp respectively in the last year.
Despite the recent success, Orient have lost a number of youngsters to other London clubs over the last four years.
But Edwards hopes the trio can help other youngsters see what is achievable if they stick with the club, who have had to wait almost 20 years since the last youth international recognition with Lee Shearer and Chris Bart-Williams.
“It’s fantastic for Jay and it’s a real boost for everyone,” said Edwards.
“It’s good to know that England look lower down and Jay is the second in recent times to be called up with Sam Roach being at the under-16 training camp, while there’s also Charlie as well.
“They follow on from the likes of Lee Shearer and Chris Bart-Williams and to have three involved is a positive step.
“Over the last few seasons we have lost about eight or nine over to bigger clubs.
“You get compensation, but it would be nice to keep a player who will go on to play for the first team.
“If they see Leyton Orient players getting in the England youth sides then maybe that will help us keep some of the most talented players at the club.”
Edwards believes the current group have a lot of potential but the academy director knows it only takes one star pupil, such as Moses Odubajo, for others to stand up and take note.
“It’s a good hard working group and they are a very good group who approach it very professionally and it would be nice for one or two to come through,” he added.
“But all it takes is someone like Moses to come along and be the one to do well, play for the first team and move on for it to be a success.”
Edwards recently spent a spell working with the first team and then interim manager Kevin Nugent.
And while that period was only brief, it was one he enjoyed and he hopes it’s not his last spell with the first team.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my first team experience,” he remarked. “I would be keen to experience the job again and even though results were indifferent it was enjoyable and I was happy to help out.
“The players are excellent and they are not far away from turning it around.
“There have been one or two injuries and suspensions and they have had that misfortune, but hopefully they can turn the corner.”