Teen's Progress Key In Bardsley Decision

Tom Edwards

MARK HUGHES says the emergence of Tom Edwards was one of the factors behind Stoke City’s decision to allow Phil Bardsley to join Burnley.

The experienced Scottish international joined the Clarets earlier today, signing a two-year deal after Burnley agreed to pay an initial £750,000 for his services.

Edwards, the Potters’ reigning Under-18 Player of the Year, has figured regularly throughout the first-team's pre-season and had another run-out this evening as a substitute against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

And Hughes is confident that with the likes of Edwards at his disposal, City have sufficient cover to cope with the departure of Bardsley.

Speaking after the Potters had slipped to a late defeat against United, boss Hughes said: “It’s important that young players like Tom are exposed to first team football.

“He’s making good progress and wouldn’t let us down when called upon, which I’m sure he will be at some point.

"We weren't likely to offer Phil an extension on his deal and we've got decent cover there.

"I've spoken in the past about trying to reduce the amount of senior players and introducing younger players at the top end of the squad. It allows us to maybe invest more fully in the first XI. Phil was obviously part of that thinking and the emergence of Tom has been really significant.

"We feel that we're happy enough to get Phil to get a longer contract at another club. He’s done well for us over the last couple of years and we wish him well at Burnley.”