Edward ‘Teddy’ Sutherland: Learning the game the Spanish way

“I made my debut with them last year when I was only 16 years old so that was great!”

Edward Surtherland, known as Teddy, has come a long way from his early years in Bromley. The 18-year-old may have spent the vast majority of his life in Spain but English is still the language spoken in the this professional footballer’s household.

Having left England at the age of four alongside his family for a new beginning, Teddy’s family settled near Cartagena on the south-east coast of Spain and he hasn’t looked back since.

“I started playing football when I was about 4 and I started playing for FC Cartagena,” he says.

“When I was 11, signed for Villarreal, where I stayed for four years plus a year on loan.”

Having spent his early days with his local club, the move to Villarreal was a big commitment for Teddy with the La Liga club being over 300km away from his family home meaning he only got to spend the occasional weekend with his parents.

His parents’ love for the game though meant they would never get in his way when a fantastic opportunity like the move to Villarreal came up. He’s now back with his first club, FC Cartagena, and last season, having been on the bench for five matches, Teddy made his debut for the first team in a 0-0 draw with Recreativo Huelva in the Spanish third-tier.

It had been a culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice but Teddy had now made his first team debut. This season, still only 18, he has been playing for the B team on a professional contract, a division below the first team.

The first team are currently pushing for promotion to the Segunda Division, the fully professional second tier and something which would also bring the added bonus of the team being added to the popular FIFA video game franchise something, Teddy would be very happy about.

It seems like his time in Spain has served him well when it comes to his footballing ability but how does he think his playing style would differ had he stayed in England?

“I think out here football is more about having the ball and size doesn’t really matter,” he says. “I am very small compared to the Tercera Division (fourth tier) players I play against.”

“I was actually put out on loan by Villarreal because of my size, I was very, very small compared to my team mates. In England, I might have been a stronger player.”

For now he has his sights set firmly on breaking back into the first team but his English roots haven’t deserted him when it comes to which team he pledges his allegiances to and his future aspirations.

“It’s actually great being able to speak two languages! I am actually a very big Arsenal fan so I would love to play for them in the future but I also love what Manchester City are doing now in English football so I would love to play for them too!”

Teddy may spend the vast majority of his time speaking Spanish and his social media is also largely in his adopted language but it is clear to see he is still proud of his English routes – and of course, he is eligible to play for either England or Spain, could we see a tussle over his international allegiance in the future?

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