Norwich City Nathan Redmond insists England’s next generation are good enough
- Credit: Matthew Usher
There is one line of questioning guaranteed to irk Norwich City midfielder Nathan Redmond.
The 19-year-old appeared just as comfortable in the media spotlight as he is terrorising retreating Premier League defenders ahead of Crystal Palace's visit until conversation moved on to the dearth of young English talent blossoming at the elite end of the professional game.
'You hear that all the time, that we haven't got a future or it is not going to be as good as it was in the past,' says Redmond, who speaks with the authority of a teenager operating in the top flight and as a regular in the England Under-21 set-up. 'If you watch the under-21 games or even the training then I can tell you those sessions and the standard is like training at Norwich or any top club.
'You look at the competition to get into the under-21 squad in my position and you have lads like Tom Ince, Wilfried Zaha, Raheem Sterling, Jesse Lingard, Saido Berahino and you could name five or six others. There is a lot of young lads coming through now and performing excellently in the Premier League like Ravel Morrison so the quality and the talent is there. if these players continue to develop over the next four or five years the future is very bright.'
Redmond's sparkling display for his country in the 6-0 demolition of Scotland's Under-21s earlier this season with senior boss Roy Hodgson in temporary control led to inevitable speculation over a full call up, but the 19-year-old is grounded enough to realise what it would take to push his claims in a World Cup year.
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'I've seen and heard that talk but I don't read too much into it. If I keep performing and keep playing well then everything will take care of itself,' he said. 'At the moment I am just concentrating on performing for Norwich. I am 19 now, and there are not many young English players who will be playing in the Premier League every week. There is maybe six or seven and the rest are in the Championship so if we do perform well in the Premier League then it will not go unnoticed, as you see with Andros (Townsend) and Ross (Barkley).
'If I give a good account of myself and Roy Hodgson wants to involve me, then it would be a dream to be playing for England, but at the moment I am just taking my time developing at Norwich, then everything else will take care of itself.'
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Redmond declared a vested interest in Townsend's meteoric rise from Tottenham outcast to England starter after playing alongside the wide player at Birmingham.
'To see how far he has come is something inspiring for young English players,' he said. 'I think at that time Birmingham was his 11th club and we used to say he'd had more clubs than the lads at Birmingham had permanent moves. When we played together back then he was a bit frustrating because he used to always have this one run back and forth every single time and we were like, 'just cross the ball'. I think the strikers would tell you they found it quite frustrating, but you could see he was a great lad who had something from being at a top club. He is now benefitting from playing in the Premier League week-in and week-out with Tottenham and the jump in his development has been massive.'
Redmond finds himself on the same career path but admits his own form since arriving from the Midlands in the summer has echoed Norwich's inconsistent output during the opening months.
'I think it has been good overall. I had five or six games in the team and then I came out and was used in more of an impact role,' he said. 'It has been vital for my development that it has been steady and I feel I made the right choice in coming to this club.
'When you come on or if you are starting a game it doesn't really alter how you approach what you are trying to do. To score the winner in the Premier League against Southampton and to have five or six of my family there to watch was just one of those you dream about and it was a feeling I will never forget.'