Ryan Edwards catching attention at Reading

Reading's rookie winger Ryan Edwards is out to trump his famous footballer father, Alistair, and make a name for himself in England's top flight.

Edwards senior was capped 19 times by Australia and had brief spells with Brighton & Hove Albion and Millwall back in the 1990s without carving a niche for himself in Britain.

And now it's 'Royal' Ryan who is out to up the ante for club – and country.

Ryan, who captained the Young Socceroos this month in a 4-0 win over Vietnam in place of the unavailable Terry Antonis, is receiving commendations for his performances for the English Premier League newcomer's under-21 side and is hopeful of garnering some first team game time at some stage this season.

Either that, or securing a loan move elsewhere, as he seeks to fast track his future.

"I've had a few sessions with the first team which has been great but right now it's all about just developing as a player and seeing where it takes me," says Ryan, whose older sibling Cameron, 20, was with him at Reading last season before a switch to the Loughborough-based Nike Academy.

"I believe in myself and I definitely feel I would not let myself down if I got a first team call up to play in the Premier League or one of the cup competitions.

"You have to aim high and I'll doing my best to push for a debut. The feedback from the coaches had been good and I am working hard on a physical side to add a few more kilos to give myself a bit more of presence on the pitch.

"It's about getting stronger to hold players off better and I'm doing that. I feel I have pretty good energy levels and can always try and take on a player for pace and I have decent passing ability. But of course there are a lot of things need to work on to improve my game.

"If a first team chance doesn't come then there's always the possibility of a loan move, if Reading wanted me to do that."

While Edwards senior was a central striker during a career which ended at Perth Glory with his retirement in 2004, Ryan is a flanker blessed with searing pace and the ability to leave defenders in his wake.

Former AIS graduate Ryan – who is a devout Tim Cahill fan - has been receiving plenty of encouragement from the Royals' other resident Australian, goalkeeper Adam Federici, currently nursing a knee injury after falling out of first team favour after costly gaffes in Reading’s season openers against Soke and Chelsea.

"We talk a lot about playing for the national team and he's always encouraging me," says Ryan, who insists the custodian will quickly banish his early season blues.

"Everybody knows what a good keeper he is, and he will get over this," he said.

Having brother Cameron in England is also a plus for Ryan, who says: "He had a one year deal and was here the whole of last season before being released." Ryan, though, is tied to the Royals until 2015 and nominates father Alistair, the current coach of Australia U16-17, as a catalyst of his blossoming career.

"It's great that he's been there and done that," he said.

"He's been here in England and played for the Socceroos and is source of motivation for me to go on and try to achieve bigger and better things in my own career.

"He's always there if I need to talk about the football side of things and is just a massive support all round.

"We are very different sorts of players, really."

Edwards is settled in England after being in the country over two years and has no regrets about leaving Australia behind.

"Being here is without doubt the best thing for my career right now," he said.

He will be in action again for the Young Socceroos when they head in a camp in Portugal next month ahead of the World Cup qualifiers in the United Arab Emirates the following month for next year’s tournament proper in Turkey.

Though Reading is rock bottom of the Premier League, with just one point from four games, Edwards believes it can stay up.

"I think we have the quality in the squad but we all know it's going to be tough because you're up against top sides virtually every week."

Source SBS