Men's Under 21s
Men's Under 21s

Nathan Redmond heads into his third U21 Euro Finals hoping to make the difference

Thursday 15 Jun 2017
England U21s forward Nathan Redmond takes aim in training ahead of the 2017 Euro Finals

Nathan Redmond is hoping to make it third time lucky at the U21 Euro Finals this summer.

The England forward has suffered group stage exits from the competition at two previous tournaments, in Israel 2013 and then Czech Republic two years ago.

And now the Southampton man is preparing for what will be his final crack at the competition as one of his country’s highest-capped U21 players, with boss Aidy Boothroyd previously admitting a number of his squad have “unfinished business” in the tournament.

Sweden v England
  • UEFA European U21 Championship Finals
  • Group A
  • 5pm, Friday 16 June 2017
  • Kielce Stadium, Poland
  • Live on Sky Sports

“Of course, there’s a few of us for which it’s our last one,” he admits.

“I’ve got an extra bit between my teeth as I want to get as far as I can. A few of the boys will be saying the same.

“For me, it’s taking my experiences from the last two tournaments and trying to help the boys if they need it.

“Obviously I’ve been here before but I don’t really want to flood their heads too much because some players want to play free and there is pressure playing in the U21s.

“But it’s a relaxed environment at the moment so hopefully will stay that way.”

Redmond was just 19 and still plying his trade with hometown club Birmingham City when he was a late addition to Stuart Pearce’s squad in 2013.

And he’s been an almost ever-present in the U21s since then, playing a key role in helping the Young Lions qualify for the 2015 edition under Gareth Southgate and then Poland this year.

“I was meant to go to the Under-20 World Cup [in Turkey in 2013],” recalls Redmond.

“We had the training camp and I was meant to have a week off. The day before I was going on holiday with my family, Stuart Pearce called and said I’d been called up for the finals in Israel. I literally packed my bag and went to meet up with them.

“I do remember a lot about it because I got my move to Norwich City on the back of it. We had a lot of talented players but underperformed.

“In the last one, we prepared well and won all our games in qualifying. We weren't going into the tournament scared or anything but we came up short.

“We didn’t perform as well as we could and that is the major thing for us now - in the last two tournaments we have smashed qualifying and then come to the major tournaments - albeit we won Toulon last year - we haven’t done so well in the finals.

Nathan Redmond says there's a relaxed atmosphere in the U21s camp in Poland

“We’re hoping to change that this time.”

The Young Lions kick-off their group stage on Friday evening when they face Sweden, a side who England beat in the group stage two years ago before the Scandinavians went on to lift the title.

And now the 23-year-old is hopeful that the preparation put in by the squad over the last few weeks can help them get up and running with a win.

“We’ve got to get out of the group stage,” he adds. “And in my past experiences, you need to win or get a result in the first game. Then momentum can start to kick in.

“We will take it step-by-step. This is a relaxed camp at the moment because the bulk of the work has been done at St George’s Park so we will keep working hard.

“It’s different from the previous two I’ve been in. We’re out here for longer leading up to the games so that should help us.

“If you look around the group then we’re all in and around first team football so we’ve been getting used to each other’s company over the past few weeks.”

By Nicholas Veevers in Kielce, Poland