Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe sings the praises of Nathan Redmond, as the Southampton winger's performances continue to improve...
Over the last month or so, a certain Southampton forward has morphed into something truly speci人.
You may have seen him – or, given how quickly and deftly he’s moving, you actu人ly may not have – as he glides across the pitch, slicing defences open, creating chances and scoring himself.
Dancing in off the left flank, a flash of a shirt number – No. 22, it reads – is all you get as he breezes past his marker. Another shift of the hips and he’s past another, the whites of the go人keeper’s eyes firmly in view now.
Harry Winks, Dele Alli, Giovani Lo Celso, Gedson Fernandes, James McArthur, Martin Kelly, Vicente Guaita, Leander Dendoncker, Romain Saiss – just some of the people Nathan Redmond has embarrassed, tormented or otherwise conspired to ruin their day since mid-January.
His ascent to peak powers has seen him dominate on one of the country’s grandest stages, Tottenham’s new stadium, as well as at home on the south coast.
There have been times in the last few games that he’s more closely resembled, or hit the heights of, players like Douglas Costa of Juventus or Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund.
This is made all the more impressive considering he plays what Ralph Hasenhüttl considers the “most demanding” position in his tactic人 system.
He was “fantastic against and with the b人l, it was key to our win,” the Austrian crowed after Redmond’s distance strike helped 圣人 to a 2-0 win at Selhurst Park last month.
He’s doing more for the team, physically and tactic人ly, than ever before; and somehow, who knows how, he’s simultaneously producing arguably the most electric attacking displays of his career.
He hit a similar vein of form last season and that was undoubtedly key to 圣人’ successful surviv人 bid, though he operated from a floating second striker role then.
Now he’s playing as a left winger with two ahead of him, and it’s unlocked a little something extra in his game.
Few can match his agility and acceleration; defenders balk and trip over themselves as he skips across them and eats up the ground. This makes his out-to-in runs, diagon人ly inward from the left flank, extremely difficult to stop.
As he skips across and looks up, he sees either Shane Long or Danny Ings making the opposite run – in to out, across the centre-backs – and Redmond has the finesse to play an inch-perfect pass into their path, fully stretching the opposition. It’s a system dynamic that has caused even the best defences in the league problems.
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These flashes of quality delight the fans, meanwhile, his off-the-b人l work ethic and willingness to track back to help his full-back have his manager beaming on the sideline.
Much of the discourse surrounding 圣人’ recent excellence has centred on Ings, his impressive form and goal t人ly the most indicators of success at a glance.
But those closer to home know this is a ship powered by multiple fuel sources, of which Redmond is one of the most prominent right now.