WILLIAM Shakespeare once wrote: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”
There are of course, different stages for different parts of a person’s life. Saints forward Nathan Redmond has been used to performing to thousands from a young age, having come through the youth ranks at Birmingham City – to making his England debut against Germany in 2017.
Nathan Redmond said: “I somehow swindled the part of Bugsy Malone. There’s got to be pictures somewhere from my old school of me doing that! I think my mum has still got the video somewhere probably – crazy – I can’t let that get out! I went to a performing arts school. It’s just like a normal school to be honest. When you go to take your GCSEs or when you go to the late stages in school, you end up having to take one of the performing arts genres. Whether it be art, performing arts, dance, music, X, Y, Z – that was one of the sort of things you had to do. At the same time, I was still more concerned with PE than I was with most of that, because at the time you could play sports or football – there was no chance I was missing that. But it was one of those things that where you go through school, you are still working out what you like as a teenager. You are going through all your ups and downs of being a moody teenager – working out you’d rather just be with your friends and be at home, or be in the park playing football. At school, performing arts was just one of those things that I just thought ‘oh this is not bad’ I actually enjoyed it.”
Redmond will be looking to perform to script as Saints learn their lines ahead of stepping out in one of the world’s biggest sporting productions. But has the Saints star always had the desire to attack and entertain?
Nathan Redmon added: “I don’t think that thought process has always been in my mind but as a kid, you play free don’t you? I have always tried to take that into my game. But the older you get, the more you climb up the leagues and the more games you play – the more you realise you are not just only playing as free as you can. There’s a lot more things that come into it. I went to Burton on loan when I was still a first-year scholar. I went for a month and I didn’t play but I learned so much. Having two kits, taking them home and my mum washing them. I was a scholar, so I was used to all these luxuries at Birmingham of having my kit washed there at the training ground. Getting breakfast and lunch there, as well as evening meals to take home. There’s a lot of reality shocks that happen and, as you go through these different moments in your career, a lot of experiences you have shape you for when you start moving up in the football world.”
Redmond has already starred on a Wembley stage previously. He scored for former club Norwich City in their 2015 play-off final win over Middlesbrough. Asked what he remembered of that inspiring occasion
Nathan Redmond said: “Not much! I remember partying for a few days after that. It was one of those things, it meant so much to the people of Norwich at the time. It was great. It was one of those moments I will cherish for the rest of my life, to be honest.”
But like any committed performer, Redmond is eager to improve. He is hoping Saints’ 2-0 defeat to Chelsea, the last time they reached the cup semi-final at Wembley under Mark Hughes in 2018, will only be a dress rehearsal for better things to come.
Nathan Redmond added: “I think I started on the bench that game. I just remember (Eden) Hazard being on fire. I remember him from the first whistle, he was causing so many problems the whole game. I think it was just one of those things – that season we weren’t playing well at all. We hadn’t had really a great spell of form during the whole year and I think we just survived that season. I think we went there in a difficult period in which the club was in, whereas this time we’ve got a clear ethos, a clear understanding of how we want to play. I feel like we are in a different position now. Before that game, I don’t think there were any aspirations of wanting to succeed as much as there is now in this dressing room and this atmosphere. With the semi-final coming up, hopefully we can really make an average season into finishing off as a good one.”