Something which kept millions of people entertained during the strange times 12 months ago were streaming services like Netflix. And that was no different for Tella, who was gripped by hit series The Last Dance, a documentary which dropped in this month last year, focusing around basketball legend Michael Jordan. Discussing his new-found interest in the sport,
Nathan Tella said: “It was lockdown last year. I was just bored. I literally had nothing else to watch or to do. I’d been jogging, I’d been playing football by myself in the park. And I was thinking, what else can I do to pass the time? And then luckily The Last Dance came up with the Chicago Bulls and I just watched that and was just hooked to it from the first episode. And since then it’s just made me have more of a fascination about the sport of basketball. I wouldn’t say I’m a massive watcher of it, but I do like to keep up to date with what’s going on, who’s injured, what the results were. There’s a few boys (at Saints), Will Ferry, another young lad, he’s keen on basketball. Caleb Watts as well is big on basketball. Oh and Ibrahima Diallo, so the four of us have conversations about basketball.”
The 21-year-old also used the lockdown to try and develop a more practical skill, although the fact it had escaped into the public domain did take him by surprise. Asked if it was true he had started learning to play the piano,
Nathan Tella replied: “How do you know that!? My sister used to play keyboard when she was younger and as she got older she just stopped. We just had a spare keyboard lying around the house and I just thought, why not? Why not give myself something else to try and think about? So I tried to practice it and tried to become good at it. I was able to play a few songs, but right now I wouldn’t say I’m good. I’ve stopped now, but hopefully in the summer I’ll pick up on it again.”
And have Tella’s musical tastes manifested themselves into a role as dressing room DJ yet?
Nathan Tella said: “No, it’s taken by someone else. I’m not sure who is on the music, but I don’t tend to have a say in what gets played. If I don’t like the music, I just put my headphones in! But usually the music is good on matchday, it gets me pumped so I like it. I did my initiation song a few years ago when I went away to Austria. I sang Ed Sheeran – The A Team.”
The A team is very much where Tella now resides at Saints. The former Arsenal youngster still tends to impress whenever dropping down to feature with the club’s B team, but he has become a regular in Hasenhuttl’s plans this term, something which has come a bit sooner than he thought possible. Asked if he expected to be involved so much with the first team this season,
Nathan Tella said: “No, not at all! I felt like after my debut in June, I felt like I’d be back with the under-23s, just getting opportunities maybe to come up and train. And probably in January I’d have liked to have kicked on and perhaps tried to have looked at getting into the first team. But the fact it’s been so early, it’s been from the start of the season I’ve been involved up until now, it’s just more than I could’ve imagined. I’m just thankful for everyone who has helped me get to this point where I am now and I just want it to keep going, I don’t want it to stop.”
Tella will hope to be involved again when Saints host Leicester City on Friday night (8pm).