edgar-david070106getty

Newcastle United defender David Edgar will play for Canada at the FIFA U-20 World Cup. ((Stu Forster/Getty Images))

Influential defender David Edgar has overcome a nagging abdominal injury and is ready to play for Canada at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Edgar, a 20-year-old native of Kitchener, Ont., will start in Canada's opening game of the tournament on July 1 against Chile in Toronto (CBC, 7:30 p.m. ET) after undergoing rehab and physiotherapy for the past three weeks.

There were fears that Edgar, a star with Newcastle United in the English Premiership, would be ruled out for Canada, but the defender said the injury is completely behind him.

"I'm 100 per cent now. I did a lot of work on it the past couple of weeks and it's fine now," Edgar told CBCSports.ca.

Edgar incurred the injury earlier this month during a warm-up session prior to a Canada-United States exhibition game. The injury forced Edgar to miss other exhibition games for Canada and he wasn't able to train with his teammates, something that drove the talented defender crazy.

"It killed me. I'm not one for watching games. I'm not built that way, but I just got on with the work and I'm fit now, so it's all in the past," the Canadian explained.

The rough and rugged centre-back said the possibility of re-aggravating the abdominal injury won't affect the way he plays.

"You can't really think about that because if you do then it's going happen. I just have to go out there, focus on my game and focus on what I have to do to help Canada win the game," Edgar said."

The defender, who played for Canada at the 2005 World Youth Championship, is looking forward to taking on Chile Sunday.

"I think it'll be similar to the exhibition game we played against Argentina a few weeks ago [a 2-1 loss for Canada]. Chile plays a similar style. It's going to be fast-paced, especially for the first 30 minutes," Edgar said.

"They'll come out flying, but so will we, so hopefully we can get the crowd behind us in the early stages of the game."

The FIFA U-20 World Cup runs from June 30 to July 22 in six Canadian cities — Victoria, Burnaby, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal — and features 24 of the best youth teams from around the world.

The three-week tournament kicks off with games in Montreal and Ottawa with the final slated for Toronto.

The 24 teams are divided into six round-robin groups with the top two teams in each group, and the top four third-place teams overall, advancing to the second round.

Canada is in Group A. After the Chile game on July 1, Canada heads to Edmonton to play Austria (July 5) and Congo (July 8).

"It'll be a disappointment if we don't make it out of the first round. We need to put in a good performance Sunday against Chile to kick off our campaign on the right note," Edgar said.

Edgar likes his team's chances of advancing to the second round, something Canada failed to do at the 2005 tournament in the Netherlands.

"We want to make amends for that and help grow soccer in Canada by going far in the tournament," Edgar said.

The U-20 World Cup is the second-largest event staged by FIFA, soccer's world governing body, after the men's World Cup.

The tournament — the soccer equivalent of the world junior hockey championship — has launched the careers of some of the sport's biggest names, including Diego Maradona, Michael Owen and Luis Figo.