England coach Steve McClaren today claimed England's hopes for Euro 2008 qualification are dependent on the fitness of Charlie Edwards.
"The lad's got talent," said McClaren. "It would be a disaster if his playgroup didn't release him for international duty. We hope they won't overplay him in the coming months."
Edwards, 3, is already pencilled in above Peter Crouch in the England squad to face Estonia in June.
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger yesterday dismissed rumours that his club were looking to sign Edwards in the summer.
"He's too old," Wenger explained. "Plus, we don't want any more Englishers at our club. It's not good for the national team."
Manchester United, on the other hand, have already approached the youngster's parents about securing his services.
"As soon as the kid learns to write his own name, we'll sign him," a club spokesman declared this afternoon. "Our chief scout spotted him 18 months ago. We've been tracking his progress ever since. It was his dribbling skills that first caught our attention. He didn't even need a bib."
The Press Association reports that a bulk order for the club's shirts bearing the toddler's name has already been placed with the official kit manufacturer Nike in the Far East.