It’s been a strange season for Nathan Redmond, complimented for his qualities in bizarrely confrontational style by the best manager in English football at the moment after a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City, yet not even a guaranteed fixture in the starting lineup at Southampton during recent months.
In fairness, that episode with Pep Guardiola appeared to go to the England international’s head; his following performances left much to be desired, and Mauricio Pellegrino saw it fit to take him out of the team.
But the 23-year-old produced a Man of the Match performance in the 1-1 draw with Burnley, his first Premier League start since Boxing Day, and was at something close to his best once again on Saturday despite Saints failing to find the net in a scoreless draw with relegation rivals Stoke City, providing a constant supply of creativity and trickery down the left-hand side.
Indeed, Redmond created the most chances and completed the most dribbles of any Southampton player, and tellingly of how relentless he was in trying to make something happen for the relegation-threatened south coast outfit, he whipped an incredible 16 crosses into the box – four of which found their target. Also completing 88% of his passes and twice testing Jack Butland with shots on target, it was a very accomplished technical performance from the young Englishman.
And there’s no doubt Redmond – who Transfermarkt value at £16.2million – is rediscovering his form at a crucial time for Southampton. With just nine games left to go and six of those encounters against clubs currently ranked 12th or higher, Pellegrino’s side are running out of time to get the points they need to stave off relegation.
If there’s one concern though, it’s how Redmond’s performance highlighted Southampton’s biggest flaw this season; for all the creativity and threat he provided, and despite the January signing of Guido Carrillo, Saints still can’t find someone to rely on for putting the ball in the back of the net.