Shropshire Star

Dave Edwards returns: A look back on his impressive career so far

Shrewsbury Town have announced the return of Dave Edwards on a two-and-a-half year deal.

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The midfielder rejoins Town 12 years on from his last appearance in blue and amber, which came in 2007 at the end of spell that saw him make 137 appearances.

Edwards, 32, made no secret of his desire to return to Shrewsbury - where he rose through the ranks - before he retires from playing.

We take a look back at his impressive career so far and the journey that has seen him come full circle and return to where it all started in Shropshire.

Professional Debut - 3rd May 2003

With Shrewsbury already relegated from the Football League, the rebuild for the following season's campagin was starting early.

Town faced a Scunthorpe side on the final day of the season who were looking to secure their place in the play-offs.

Caretaker boss, and former Wolves midfielder, Mark Atkins made a 17-year-old Edwards wait until the final seven minutes of the season before he handed him his Shrews debut, coming on for Jamie Tolley.

Sadly for Edwards, two goals from the son of Kenny Dalglish, Paul, saw his first Gay Meadow appearance end in defeat.

Dave Edwards v Boston United

Full Debut - 17th January 2004

Now under the leadership of player-manager Jimmy Quinn, and battling at the top of the Conference, Edwards made his first professional start in front of 3,777 fans at Gay Meadow,

Accrington were the opponents in Shropshire with the two teams sharing the points after a goalless draw.

That season would see Edwards rack up 17 appearances in all competitions as the teenager played a big part in seeing Shrewsbury promoted back into the Football League at the first time of asking, via the play-offs.

Dave Edwards' shot is blocked by Chester's Davies.

First Town Goal - 28th December 2004

Edwards had to wait until his 25th Town appearance before he found the net.

Town were sat just above the drop zone in League Two when they welcomed 10th placed Darlington to the Gay Meadow, starting what would be a turnaround for their season with a 4-0 win.

From that point on Edwards would score for Shewsbury in three consecutive games as Town climbed away from the foot of the table to finish eleven points clear of relegation.

Dave Edwards on the attack for Shrewsbury.

Wales U21 debut - 16th May 2006

Qualifying for Wales though his father, Edwards climbed through the Wales youth ranks during his time at Shrewsbury and made his Under-21s debut towards the end of the 2005-06 season.

Representing Wales at U17 and U19 level, he would make nine appearances for the U21s, with this first being against Cyprus, scoring one goal.

Wales' David Edwards goes past the challenge of Belgium defender Guillaume Gillet.

Moves to Luton and Wolves

Speculation that Edwards had rejected a contract extension with Shrewsbury saw him left out of the match day squad for Town's League Two play-off final clash with Bristol Rovers by manager Gary Peters.

That summer, he completed a transfer to Luton Town for a fee, agreed at tribunal, of £250,000.

Edwards would only make 19 appearances for Luton that season, scoring four times along the way.

However, with Luton struggling financially, the club failed on a number of occasions to pay his wages and Edwards was sold to Wolves six-months later for £675,000.

New signing Dave Edwards watches from the stand at Molineux.

Wales Debut - 17th November 2007

While a Luton Town man, Edwards was called up to make his first full International appearance for Wales, which came during a 2-2 draw with Republic of Ireland during qualification for the 2008 UEFA European Championships.

Impressive performances would follow, including a goal against Liechtenstein at the Millenium Stadium that would kick-start an international career that lasted a decade.

Wales's Gareth Bale and David Edwards tussle for the ball during the training session.

Highs and Lows with Wolves

Edwards made over 300 appearances during his ten years at Molineux.

During that time he would enjoy the highs of multiple promotions from three different divisions as well as suffering the lows of back-to-back relegations from England's top-flight to League One.

In his second season with the club the midfielder made 44 appearances and played a vital role in leading the club to promotion back to the Premier League.

Sixty-one top flight appearances later, and Edwards had found the net five times - including a memorable goal against his former Shrewsbury Town team mate, and someone he once lived with during his time in Shropshire, Joe Hart as Wolves beat title chasers Manchester City.

The following season would see Wolves relegated twice in consecutive campaigns, but Edwards remained at Wolves scoring nine goals to help them bounce back to the Championship at the first attempt.

Three Shrewsbury players who were at the time just breaking into the the first team. From left, Joe Hart, Ross Stephens and Dave Edwards (Front)

Peak of his Powers

Dave Edwards was at his very best during his final two season with Wolves, often contributing with goals from midfield.

During the 2016-17 season, the then 31-year-old went on a run where he scored six goals in ten games, including a brace away at Barnsley.

Dave Edwards of Wolverhampton Wanderers celebrates after scoring. (AMA)

UEFA European Championship Semi-Finaist - June 2016

As his time at Wolves came to an end, Edwards made three appearances to help Wales to the semi-finals of the European Championships, their greatest ever international achievement.

Wales qualified for the knockout stages as group winners, despite defeat to Roy Hodgson's England, after defeated Russia comfortable 3-0 with Edwards featuring alongside Gareth Bale, Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey in midfield.

Victory over Northern Ireland (1-0) and and a historic 3-1 win against Belgium secured their place against eventual winners Portugal in the semi-finals.

The following season Edwards would announce his retirement form international football.

Slovakia's Marek Hamsik and Wales' David Edwards (right) battle for the ball during the UEFA Euro 2016.

Return to Shrewsbury Town

After making the switch to Reading for a reported £1milion, and an 18 months with the Roylas dampened by injuries, Edwards returned to Shrewsbury Town on a two-and-a-half year deal, linking up with former Wales and Wolves team mate Sam Ricketts.