Today’s edition of SAINTS, to mark the visit of Manchester United under the lights at St Mary's, features the following feature-length interview with Nathan Redmond...
The 2017/18 season is not one many of the Southampton squad look back on fondly, least of all Nathan Redmond.
All’s well that ends well, and the scenes of jubilation borne out of relief after Manolo Gabbiadini’s winner in south Wales will live long in the memory, but a fresh start could not come soon enough once the steep ascent to survival was finally conquered.
“Last year was probably the biggest learning curve of my life,” declares Redmond, whose loss of form and confidence fractured his relationship with some of the club’s supporters.
By his own admission, he lost his freedom of expression on the pitch. That might sound trivial, but for such a happy-go-lucky character as the Birmingham-born winger, he needs it.
Redmond is one of the jokers in the Southampton pack. He wears an infectious grin at Staplewood and brings teammates together with his energy and laughter.
He’s got a great life, and he enjoys it.
But up until the summer, the smile was ebbing away and his mind was clouded by negative thoughts. The criticism would stick.
Fast-forward to 2018/19 and the swagger is returning. Still with room for improvement – he is yet to score this season – but, more important than any statistic, he feels liberated.
“I feel like I’m in a more positive way of thinking, in terms of getting at players,” Redmond explains, as he goes into detail about the psychological change.
“I don’t feel I’m afraid to mess up or not get past somebody. I feel like I’ve overcome that point that I was in – especially last season where I was almost afraid to take somebody on, in the fear that I might lose the ball.
“My confidence was low, on and off the pitch, but I’m at a place now that I’m literally thinking as soon as I get the ball: what are my strengths? And then just doing it.
“I feel like I’m happy with my form, but at the same time I’m not happy with it. I’ve created a lot of chances for the team, but I had an expectation that I would have a couple of goals under my belt and a few more assists, because I’ve only got two in the cup.
“It’s about managing my own expectations and not letting them frustrate me to a point where I’m back in a place where I was last year.”
This is just a small snippet of the full ten-page interview, in which Redmond also opens up about:
- How he struggled to adapt to life out of the team last season
- His relationship with the Saints supporters and dealing with criticism
- Dealing with the heartbreak of his missed penalty for England Under-21s at the 2017 Euros, and the knock-on effect on his club form
- Handling social media and escaping negativity
- His summer trip to Los Angeles to rebuild mind and body
- Returning with a new lease of life, confidence and sharpness
- The unwavering support of his teammates, friends and family
Don’t forget you can pick up your copy of SAINTS from St Mary’s this evening, or online at saintsprogrammes.co.uk.