Nathan Redmond’s Norwich City ride brought to an end by top-flight relegation
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
As soon as Norwich City's relegation was confirmed, there was something set to happen that was as inevitable as the Canaries featuring in the Championship fixture list – Nathan Redmond's departure.
The winger's arrival from a second tier club in Birmingham back in the summer of 2013, then still only 19 years old, was all about one thing: testing himself in the ruthless world of the Premier League.
Redmond already had the England pedigree and his heavy involvement and respect in the Three Lions' development set-up was never far away during this three-year spell at Carrow Road.
In fact, it underpins exactly why the winger doesn't want to go through a second Championship season in three years; as did England Under-21s' Toulon Tournament success, in which Redmond was a key factor.
At the grand old age of 22, with suitors aplenty to help mould, coach and raise his game to the next level, Redmond's time in Norfolk was done.
Perhaps the big question it leaves is whether his time at Norwich served its purpose?
The electric days and nights will never been forgotten.
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Be it at Old Trafford, City's Championship promotion last season, his inspired effort at home to Watford or being credited at Wembley with one of the greatest Norwich City goals ever scored – Redmond has been worth every penny of that £3.2m fee.
There have also been spells – plenty of them – where it didn't quite happen for him. Where Redmond wasn't involved. Where even in the midst of a pacy break, he would hold things up and decide to wait – and where it seemed Redmond's development was going along at a similar tempo.
There was often frustration. Often inconsistency. But we're talking about a player who made 122 Norwich appearances, scored 13 goals – and is still yet to play a competitive match as anything other than an official under-21 player. Is it really any wonder?
The record £11m fee City received is OK given the money now available to Premier League clubs and the swift sorting of the deal. Redmond is bright and articulate enough to deal well with his next challenge – although joining a club still yet to name its new manager seems a curious, needless risk to take.
As for life here at Carrow Road, both Murphy twins will now be looked at to fill the gap Redmond leaves behind. At 21, both are two years older than the Redmond that arrived in 2013.
The winger's progress at Southampton will be keenly watched from here in Norfolk. Where Redmond's career now heads rests, as it always has, with his own drive and ability.
But for the part the Canaries played in his journey, there were more than enough good moments to wish Nathan Redmond thanks and good luck for what comes next.