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MILITARY MIGHT; Serving in the army gave Carlos strength for pitch battles EDWARDS HAS DRIVING FORCE EXCLUSIVE.

Byline: BY ROB TANNER

CARLOS Edwards could be the man to inspire Wolves in the battle to reach the Premier League, thanks to his military training.

The winger, who turned 30 on Friday, spent two and a half years in the Trinidad Defence Force and impressed as the midfield general for the army side before being snapped up by Wrexham for pounds 250,000 in 2000.

Edwards, who is on a threemonth loan at Molineux from Sunderland, believes his years in the army serving alongside Walsall goalkeeper Clayton Ince gave him the discipline and strength to carve out a career in football.

Edwards has suffered two serious injuries during his career and has arrived at Wolves to get much-needed match fitness after recovering from a fractured leg, which forced him to miss most of last season, and he credits the army for helping him deal with the frustration of being inactive.

"It wasn't compulsory to join but I was a crazy guy," Edwards said. "I was 18 and it made me the individual I am today.

"I don't think coming from Trinidad to the freezing cold of the United Kingdom I would have been able to deal with it if it wasn't for the military training I went through.

"It played a big part in me being able to stand up and be counted.

"I was just a private and I never saw any action. We are such a small nation and we never went to war with anyone.

"But the military gave me the mental strength to pick myself up and go again after a disappointment.

"You can be walking wounded and you could get a bullet in your leg but you have to pick yourself up and drag yourself away because they could be coming to get you.

"That has played a part because at one point when I was injured I was really

down in the dumps.

"But I thought what was the point because I was already injured and was just making myself worse.

"It could only get better and by sulking I was only making myself worse.

And here I am today, back fully fit."

Edwards said he is fighting a battle on two fronts this season - to get Wolves into the Premier League and help Trinidad and Tobago qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

Wanderers are riding high in the Championship and are well placed to sustain a promotion push, while Trinidad andTobago are just one point away from reaching the next stage of qualifying for South Africa, and Edwards believes he can play a vital role in both campaigns.

"I have not come here to just make up the numbers, Iamhere to prove a point, to get my fitness back and get back into action," Edwards said.

"The Wolves manager (Mick McCarthy) knows my capabilities and he has brought me here to get those qualities into the team. I have come here to do my best and hopefully it will inspire others.

"I can see the club maintaining a challenge.

What is the point of having a good start if you don't have a good finish? It would be the icing on the cake to be promoted as champions. We have quality players and a quality manager; everything is set up for the Premier League. It is all in our hands now to push on and continue.

"I want to play my part so I can say I contributed to promotion if we get it. I hope by the end of my loan spell we are 15 points clear so I can say I helped the club."

If his national side do qualify for the World Cup, Edwards hopes he will get another chance to line up against England he still cherishes the shirtAshley Cole gave him after England's victory over Trinidad and Tobago in Germany two years ago. "It was a great atmosphere and it was unreal to play against England," he said. "I wish I could turn back time and play it again.

"Sometimes I still relive that moment but it is gone and I look forward to more experiences. Who knows what is around the corner and hopefully I can be part of the team that qualifies for 2010.

"I have Ashley Cole's shirt and it is great to have those mementos. I have them all framed but I haven't put them up yet in my house.

"Sooner or later they will all go up and then my kids and my grandchildren can see them and know that I played in a World Cup and played against the game's top players."

CAPTION(S):

BILLET BUDDIES: Carlos Edwards served in the Trinidad army with Walsall keeper Clayton Ince, left
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Oct 26, 2008
Words:788
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