Norwich City’s Nathan Redmond gears up for special reunion with Jack Butland
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Nathan Redmond will put his close friendship with Stoke keeper Jack Butland to one side on Saturday for the Norwich City cause.
The Canaries' goalscoring midfielder and his fellow England Under-21 international progressed through the ranks at Birmingham before their careers took them away from St Andrews ahead of this afternoon's first ever competitive duel.
'We were speaking the other day and we are just going to be excited if we both start,' said Redmond, who has scored twice in the Premier League this season. 'It is one of those when we were 13 or 14 watching Match of the Day at digs in the academy and now we have got to this point and it is going to be a nice thing to be part of. I think we were meant to play against each other for the first time when he was at Derby last year, but then he went back to Stoke. We speak religiously, once or twice every week. He is one of my good friends outside of football as well.
'We came through the academy together. When I was 13 he joined at 14 and he is a fantastic goalkeeper. Everyone could see that when he first joined. He has had it tough, he had to go out on loans to Cheltenham, Barnsley, Derby and I am delighted he has got the number one shirt now.'
Redmond admits there is more than three points on offer at Carrow Road.
'If I score I might give it to him for a couple of hours and he would do the same thing the other way,' he said. 'Anything can happen in football. I could smash one that is heading for the top bin and comes off a defender and he dives the wrong way and it trickles into the net. That is football. He might be telling them my secrets but he'll be in the same position as me, I'll try to tell the boys which side to shoot and which side he doesn't like, but on the day he might be fantastic.'
Redmond has arguably enjoyed the more seamless transition to the first team after bursting onto the scene at Birmingham and then moving to Norwich. The 21-year-old is well used to the hype that accompanies his exploits on the pitch.
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'It's a bit weird watching yourself on Match of the Day and then listening to the pundits. I enjoy it when it's a win and you are scoring, but I don't really buy into the hype or the headlines,' he said. 'I think it was the way I was brought up. You can't rest on what you have done or what you are doing, especially in football, you are always going to be judged on your last match and that is the saying in football.
'I have been brought up not to settle for what you have got, you have to keep going. Even after a good game my camp and my family and friends will congratulate me but at the same time say its time for the next one.
'That is what we have done as a group. We have closed the Sunderland game down now but we're still upbeat about it and that was the same after Crystal Palace, even though we got beat. We felt we deserved a little bit more out of the game.'