Rob Edwards And Tom Lockyer Swell Welsh Ranks In Premier League

Welsh football will have a new manager in the Premier League next season in Rob Edwards at Luton Town.

The Hatters completed an astonishing nine-year rise from non-League football to the top flight by overcoming Coventry City in a dramatic penalty shoot-out at Wembley to win the Championship play-off final.

There should be at least one more Welsh player in the Premier League, too, as Tom Lockyer has a couple of months to get himself fit and healthy for the big kick-off.

Edwards – who won 15 caps for Wales from 2003 to 2006 – gave an emotional interview after the victory in which he spoke about his concerns for his captain and fellow central defender Lockyer.

The 28-year-old from Cardiff collapsed early in the game as he was running and needed medical treatment before he was carried from the pitch on a stretcher.

Thankfully, Lockyer was well enough to post updates later on social media, including a picture of him celebrating with his family from his hospital bed.

Luton and their captain have yet to give any more details around his collapse, but the hope is that he is able to resume his career in time for Luton’s first Premier League match in August.

More could emerge on Tuesday, when Wales manager Rob Page is due to name his squad for the upcoming Euro qualifiers against Armenia and Turkey – a group that Lockyer would have expected to be in as he was part of the squad that went to the World Cup in Qatar last November.

Edwards – who will make it two Welsh managers in the Premier League next season alongside Nottingham Forest’s Steve Cooper – admitted the concern for Lockyer meant he was unable to fully celebrate at the final whistle.

“It was mixed because of Locks (Lockyer), that’s why I couldn’t really go for it celebrating,” said Edwards.

“I’m just so thankful that he’s okay because that’s all that matters.”

So, one player should – hopefully – add to the ranks of Welsh players in the Premier League next season, but two members of Page’s World Cup squad are dropping down to the Championship.

Leeds United’s defeat at home to Tottenham ruined any hope of avoiding relegation, so Dan James – who has been on loan at Fulham for the season – will go back to Leeds and become a Championship player, as he was when he was at Swansea City.

Of equal disappointment to Page will be the relegation suffered by Leicester City, which means his first choice goalkeeper, Danny Ward will also be dropping down a level