In many ways Nathan Redmond has always been up against it since he signed for Southampton for a fee in the region of £10m from Norwich City in the summer of 2016.
During that transfer window, the south coast outfit had seen previous manager Ronald Koeman replaced by Claude Puel, while Sadio Mane, Graziano Pelle and Victor Wanyama were among the key first-team players that moved on to pastures new.
Replacing Mane, who scored 25 goals in 75 appearances in total for Saints and 15 in 43 in his final season at St Mary’s, was always going to be a tough task, and it was Sofiane Boufal that was probably brought into the club do this, rather than Redmond.
However, injury problems meant the talented Moroccan missed out on pre-season and wasn’t fit in the early stages of the campaign, which gave the former Canaries winger – who wasn’t even a regular for them as they were relegated in the 2015/16 campaign – a starting berth at the beginning of the season, and naturally the fans wanted him to try and have the same impact as Mane.
While Southampton’s success and three successive top-eight finishes had been built on a 4-2-3-1 formation, Puel decided that he wanted to play with a 4-4-2 diamond system at the start of the campaign, and Redmond was handed a striker’s spot by the Frenchman.
A goal on his full debut in the 1-1 draw against Watford certainly got his career with the south coast outfit off to a positive start, but comparisons to Thierry Henry by Puel the day before the season got underway certainly weren’t helpful for lowering expectations and instead put the pressure on him.
The attacker failed to score in his next six Premier League appearances despite playing the full 90 minutes in each, and throughout the campaign Puel gradually reverted back to the 4-2-3-1 system when he realised that his preferred style wasn’t working.
Redmond seemed to alternate between starts on the left and the right, before settling on a regular spot on the left in the second-half of the campaign as Saints recorded an eighth-place finish.
The 23-year-old scored one goal and didn’t pick up a single assist in his final nine top flight appearances last season however, but it wasn’t all bad as he ended the season with seven top flight goals as well as netting in the 1-0 win against Liverpool in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final tie.
However, his disappointing form from last season has carried into the current campaign under new manager Mauricio Pochettino, where he has no goals and three assists in 21 matches.
Even though he often seems to make more of an impact on the right-hand side because of his pace, the one-capped England international usually starts on the left, and the fact that he is often forced to cut in on to his stronger right foot hardly helps his personal impact and slows the team’s attacking play down in general.
There has obviously been a huge dip in form and loss of confidence in the player – who needs to work on his decision-making – with the fans’ frustrations with him and Pellegrino beginning to boil over as he has continued to start games in recent weeks and months despite making little impact.
Southampton fans have been quick to get on his back when he has been named in the starting XI and has made a mistake – with some ironically cheering when he has been taken off.
Pellegrino has actually taken him out of the limelight and put him on the bench more often than not in recent times, but he has still been booed by some when he has been introduced.
Considering his poor form and the fact that he isn’t delivering on the pitch it isn’t a surprise, but it isn’t the only reason that Redmond isn’t popular among the St Mary’s faithful.
One of the main problems with him is that he is quick to moan at his teammates when they don’t do something right, and he points at and blames others for his own mistakes.
It shows a real lack of maturity from the 23-year-old, and while it is clear that he simply wants to win, there are better ways to go about it on the pitch then often being seen visibly whingeing at the people on your team.
All of the factors mentioned in this piece combine tell the story of how Redmond’s Southampton career has never been a walk in the park, but the Saints fans would certainly have a lot more respect and empathy with him if he went about things the right way on the pitch too.
Save the moaning for in the dressing room at half-time or full-time, because fans who are seeing a lack of goals and poor results won’t take kindly to seeing a player constantly having a go at his teammates on the pitch – especially when the individual is making just as many mistakes himself.
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