Nathan Redmond reflects on winner against Serbia and his own international development.
By Nicholas Veevers in Tallinn
U19s wing ace Nathan Redmond scored what he says is the best of his goals for the Three Lions on Friday to help England beat Serbia and seal an U20 World Cup place in the process.
Redmond’s left-footed screamer had Head Coach Noel Blake purring in admiration for what he felt was a ‘counter attacking goal of the highest order, at any level’ and the Birmingham City starlet was in full agreement with him.
“It’s one of the better ones that I’ve scored for England,” he admitted. “I’ve scored a few for my club that could match it, but that’s definitely one with my weaker foot that I can look back at!
“As soon as I scored and all of the lads came over, I said to them ‘that’s a team goal’ because we got it from the back and that’s something we’ve been working on in training, counter attacking.
“We broke quickly and scored a great team goal from it.”
It was Redmond’s first start for the U19s, following on from an impressive substitute appearance against Croatia in the first game and some hard work in training to make his impression on Blake.
With World Cup qualification now secured, England’s next target it is to get through the group stage here and into the semi-final of the Euros.
England now lie in second place in Group B and face table-toppers and already qualified France in Tallinn on Monday afternoon. A win for the Young Lions there will see them leap-frog France to go top, whilst a point will be enough to progress to the semi-final. Croatia and Serbia meet in Rakvere with the Croats knowing they could still beat England to second spot whilst Serbia are playing for World Cup qualification, so it's all nicely set up.
With that first win of the competition under their belts now though, Redmond feels England can continue to improve as the games go along.
“We started off a bit brighter than we did in the first game and that’s what we were looking for right from the start,” he said.
“Serbia had a few chances where they could’ve scored and that’s something we need to work on.
“They were very physical and I struggled at times with it, but I stuck in there and did the hard work for the team and as a team, we scored two goals.
“We always know that European nations are tough, they will leave their hearts on the field and you have got to treat every team with respect.
“But we won and that qualifies us for the World Cup, so we can now concentrate on the next game. It will be the same with France so we can’t sit back on our laurels, we have to keep pushing now and make sure we get through to the semi-finals.”
It’s been a second summer of international football for Redmond after the 18-year-old was involved in last year’s U17 Euro Finals and U17 World Cup, so this squad was natural progress for him after a campaign which saw him really make his mark on the Birmingham first team scene.
“As you get older, you learn from the U16s that it’s the same system that keeps going through the age groups and you never lose sight of it,” he explained.
“Going through the age groups, you see that nothing changes in the way things are done and I hope that will be the case if I can make it into the Senior team one day.
“It’s been great coming into the group, it’s a great bunch of lads and I already knew a few of them from back home in the Midlands and also the U17s.
“But everyone welcomed me back in February when I played against Czech Republic and then I couldn’t go to the qualifiers because of club duties, but I’m back in the squad and really enjoying it.”