Nathan Redmond

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 11:  Loris Karius and Nathaniel Clyne of Liverpool look on as Nathan Redmond of Southampton celebrates as he scores their first goal during the EFL Cup semi-final first leg match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium on January 11, 2017 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

EFL Cup semis, leg 1: Southampton 1-0 Liverpool

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Southampton find themselves 90 minutes from their first major Cup final since 2003 (FA Cup — lost to Arsenal) after edging Liverpool, 1-0 at St. Mary’s Stadium, in the first leg of the EFL Cup semifinals on Wednesday.

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Fraser Forster made the game’s first save (his only save for 60 minutes) in the 18th minute, denying a criminally unmarked Roberto Firmino from 12 yards out, at which point it turned into the Nathan Redmond versus Loris Karius show.

Liverpool’s oft-criticized, 23-year-old ‘keeper made a pair of spectacular saves to thwart Redmond, denying him from close range in the 19th and 43rd minutes, to limit Saints’ halftime advantage to 1-0.

Redmond would get the better of Karious, though, in the 20th minute, timing his run perfectly to remain onside until the moment Jay Rodriguez slipped the ball into acres of space for the speedy winger. Karius rushed off his line to close down the angle, but the finish was low and to the far post. 1-0, Saints.

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Saints nearly made it 2-0 in the 65th minute, when Redmond played Cedric through down the right side of the penalty area. With Jay Rodriguez looming large in front of goal, the Portuguese full back opted to shoot from a tight angle rather than cross for Rodriguez, and his shot skewed wide of Karius’ near post.

Redmond went even closer to doubling Saints’ lead in the 82nd minute, but his deftly chipped effort clanged off the crossbar after Shane Long won the ball on the left wing and crossed for Redmond. Karius again came rushing out, but Redmond’s shot eluded his outstretched hand before coming back off the underside of the crossbar. So nearly a two-goal lead.

Liverpool will host the second leg at Anfield in two weeks’ time, Wednesday, Jan. 25, with the winner advancing to the final at Wembley Stadium, where they’ll face the winner of Manchester United versus Hull City in the other semifinal (Man United won the first leg at home, 2-0 on Tuesday).

EFL Cup semi — HT: Redmond puts Saints ahead of Liverpool (video)

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 11:  Nathan Redmond of Southampton celebrates as he scores their first goal during the EFL Cup semi-final first leg match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium on January 11, 2017 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images
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In a first half largely dominated by the home side, Nathan Redmond nabbed a richly deserved opening goal (below video) to give Southampton a 1-0 lead at the quarter mark of Saints’ EFL Cup semifinal tie with Liverpool.

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Loris Karius, Liverpool’s oft-criticized, young goalkeeper, was outstanding in the opening 45 minutes, making four saves in total, two of which came in spectacular fashion to prevent a difference on the scoreboard more representative of the general run of play.

Jurgen Klopp will likely ease Philippe Coutinho, who’s missed the last six weeks with an ankle injury, back into the side as the second half wears on, as the Reds chase a vital away goal in the first leg.

Redmond ready to become Southampton’s new star

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Nathan Redmond got his Southampton career off to a flying start on the opening weekend of the new Premier League season.

[ MORE: Saints’ U.S. plan revealed ]

Redmond, 22, scored Saints’ equalizer against Watford in the 1-1 draw at St Mary’s, forced their goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes into two fine saves and also had a late goal disallowed for a marginal offside call.

Involved in so much goal-mouth action already, Redmond has seen his position transform from a winger into a striker since his $13 million summer move from Norwich City to Saints.

Speaking to ProSoccerTalk, Redmond revealed his delight following a promising debut last weekend.

“It was an unbelievable feeling to score in front of the home fans on my debut,” Redmond said. “I wanted to get off to a good start here at Southampton Football Club and I hope I can build on this going forward. We’ve got some important games coming up and I hope I can continue to contribute and help the team.”

New Saints manager Claude Puel previously worked closely with Thierry Henry and helped transform Henry from a winger into a striker during his coaching days at AS Monaco.

Puel has spoken about similarities he sees between Henry and Redmond but the Southampton man is trying to focus on himself, despite admitting he looked up to Henry growing up.

“Obviously it is nice to be compared to someone as successful in the game as Thierry Henry but I like to focus on my own game and not get too far ahead of myself. I’m concentrated on trying to improve in every training session and playing as well as I can for Southampton,” Redmond said. “Henry is a Premier League great who I always watched when I was growing up. His blistering pace coupled with his finishing ability made him one of the most feared strikers in the world. He’s someone that inspired me as a boy and someone that I have always looked up to.”

With Saints selling forwards Graziano Pelle and Sadio Mane this summer, Redmond has launched himself ahead of Charlie Austin and Jay Rodriguez in the pecking order at the club and started the opener alongside Shane Long.

So, has this switch from winger to striker been easy? And how has he settled in at his new club?

“I actually played as a striker in the Toulon tournament [for England] this summer but I’ve always tried to play with attacking freedom and take the opposition defenders on, so I’m really enjoying this new role. Something I want to work on this season is getting in the right place to score more goals and hopefully this new position gives me the perfect opportunity,” Redmond continued. “All the players and staff have been absolutely fantastic with me and have really helped me to settle in quickly. Everybody at the club is extremely friendly and welcoming and there is a really strong family spirit around the training ground and the stadium”

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Looking ahead to the Europa League group stage, Redmond played in the competition as a teenager with Birmingham City and he admits it is something he hopes he and his Southampton teammates embrace. Saints have reached this stage of the competition for the first time in their history and there is plenty of excitement ahead of draw for the group stage taking place next Friday in Monaco.

“Naturally I am really looking forward to testing myself on the European stage and playing against some of the best teams on the continent,” Redmond said. “I’ve been lucky enough to play in the competition in the past and I know it will make me push myself further in my development. It’s a fantastic challenge for everyone at Southampton FC and one that we can’t wait to take on.”

Heading in to the first Friday game of the PL season at Old Trafford against Man United (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on USA Network and online via NBC Sportswith Jose Mourinho making his home debut and Paul Pogba set to feature for the first time since his world-record $120 million transfer from Juventus, Redmond and Saints aren’t daunted.

In fact, Saints haven’t lost at Old Trafford for the last three seasons and have won back-to-back games 1-0 at the Theatre of Dreams. That said, Redmond admits it won’t be easy but Saints are confident.

“Playing against a great team in one of the biggest stadiums in the world is something we are looking forward to. As a player, you want to play in these types of games and show what you are about. We head to Old Trafford with confidence and belief and look forward to imposing our game plan,” Redmond said.

Looking ahead to the future, Redmond’s form for England’s U-21 side this summer, plus his fast start for Saints this season, could mean that new England boss Sam Allardyce may think about giving the pacey attacker a call up in his first England squad in early September. 

That’s something Redmond is hoping will take care of itself, but the level-headed youngster has aspirations to kick on following his promising start to life as a Saint.

“Obviously playing for your country at senior level is something that every player wants to achieve. First and foremost though, I have to concentrate on my performances at Southampton and see where it takes me,” Redmond said. 

Premier League Saturday Roundup: Champs shocked, Spurs held, City survives late

HULL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 13: Mike Phelan, caretaker Manager of Hull City celebrates on the sideline during the Premier League match between Hull City and Leicester City at KCOM Stadium on August 13, 2016 in Hull, England.  (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
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One day into the new Premier League season, we already have a number of surprising results.

Hull City and West Bromwich Albion – teams who both struggled through bad press, managerial turmoil, and a frustrating transfer window this summer – both picked up wins over teams who seem to be trending upwards.

Hull City 2-1 Leicester CityRECAP

Nobody thought Leicester City’s title defense would be easy, or even possible, but most expected them to ease past managerless and transfer-less Hull City on opening day. Most thought wrong. Robert Snodgrass was creative and scored the winner as the Tigers, under caretaker manager Mike Phelan, picked up a confidence-building win over the defending champions.

Crystal Palace 0-1 West BromRECAP

Building on Hull’s win, West Brom surprised a rising Crystal Palace squad at Selhurst Park behind a header from Salomon Rondon, who looked most dangerous during an otherwise listless match. Similar to Hull, West Brom has had a rocky summer, stymied on a number of transfers and forced to question if Tony Pulis would stick around. However, they faced a Palace side that looked timid in the final third and Rondon, last year’s leading scorer for the Baggies, started off on the right foot.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 13: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Sunderland at Etihad Stadium on August 13, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Manchester City 2-1 SunderlandRECAP

Pep Guardiola made a statement when he benched incumbent goalkeeper Joe Hart, but it didn’t matter as the City attack was in charge. For much of the match City was in control, and while Jermain Defoe thought he earned Sunderland a point with a 70th minute equalizer, pressure from the hosts was too much at the end amid defensive tactics from David Moyes. A Paddy McNair own-goal with four minutes was the difference as City survived.

Middlesbrough 1-1 Stoke CityRECAP

Boro looks like an exciting and stout Premier League side, and went ahead through new signing Alvaro Negredo. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t last as Xherdan Shaqiri – invisible for much of the early going – deposited a beautiful free-kick into the back of the net to equalize.

Burnley 0-1 SwanseaRECAP

Leroy Fer produced a late, 82nd minute winner to give Swansea all three points at Turf Moor. The goal was just after Swans defender Federico Fernandez should have scored earlier in the second half but missed poorly from close range. Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski was also needed as he denied Sam Vokes just after halftime.

Southampton 1-1 WatfordRECAP

The two sides finished level in a matchup of first-time Premier League managers. Nathan Redmond scored an impressive volley on his Saints debut to peg Watford back after Etienne Capoue had given the visitors the lead with his first goal for the club. Watford’s Ben Watson was sent off late after a last-man foul, a selfless sacrifice after Southampton was threatening on the break.

Everton 1-1 TottenhamRECAP

Ross Barkley put the hosts in front, but Erik Lamela headed home an equalizer in the second half as both teams had to settle for a disappointing draw. Spurs will be even more concerned that goalkeeper Hugo Lloris went off injured, as the club announced he had a hamstring problem and will be assessed in the coming days.

Southampton announces signing of Nathan Redmond from Norwich

SIX-FOURS-LES-PLAGES, FRANCE - MAY 25: Nathan Redmond of England celebrates after scoring his sides fourth goal during the Toulon Tournament match between Paraguay and England at  Stade Antoinr Baptiste on May 25, 2016 in Six-Fours-Les-Plages, France. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)
Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images
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Southampton may not have a manager, but the Premier League side has a new player in English U-23 star Nathan Redmond.

Redmond, 22, made 122 starts for Norwich City — 75 in the Premier League — after arriving from Birmingham City in 2013.

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The attacker was a bright spot during Norwich’s relegation-doomed 2015-16 season, and will be a big loss for Alex Neil at Carrow Road.

Reports say the fee was just under $14 million.

From SaintsFC.co.uk:

Executive Director of Football Les Reed said: “I’m delighted to be able to welcome Nathan to Southampton Football Club.
“Despite being just 22, Nathan has gained plenty of experience in the Premier League with Norwich City, showing his quality at the top level on a consistent basis.”
Slick pickup for Saints, who will certainly need depth when they join the Europa League at the group stage this season. Like Charlie Austin, the price seems somehow cheaper when Saints buy an English player.