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James Redden | "The whole tournament was amazing"

12 July 2023

Club News

James Redden | "The whole tournament was amazing"

12 July 2023

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Luton Town Head of Performance Development James Redden has been out in Georgia with the England Under-21s as the Young Lions won the European Championship last Saturday.

Redden, who has been the Physical Performance coach for Young Lions since 2022, explained his role and the experience of the successful tour.

“The whole tournament was amazing,” explained Redden. “But the final was something else, you feel really connected to the lads after being with them for a month, I’m delighted for them and glad to get the result we got.

“In my role, I cover everything from the on-field warm-ups and conditioning, planning training with the coaches, gym work afterwards, nutrition, everything around training which helps the lads perform and recover while playing at the tournament.

“I’ve worked for 13 years in football and before the Championship play-off final, I’d never won anything so to win two trophies in five weeks is crazy, I could get used to it.

“We got beat against Sunderland in the play-off semi-final first leg, but if you combine Luton and England, I think that’s the only game I’ve lost in 25 or 30 games, just lucky to be involved in it.”

James Redden (right) celebrating with physio Chris Phillips after the Hatters won promotion to the Premier League at Wembley in May.

Redden gave great insight into what it is like on an England camp, saying: “England do the camps brilliantly as an organisation, the base camp hotel was brilliant. We went out to see it a couple of months before so we could prepare everything before the players got out there.

“We set up our own gym, set up loads of social stuff for the lads like a golf simulator, pool and darts so the lads could enjoy their time outside of training to relax. England did lots of other little touches like giving you photos of your family, your favourite chocolate biscuits and stuff in your room, you feel at home.

“Training and games are at a really good standard, the squad are mostly all Premier League players now, but they are young enough that they are still learning, you like to think that you can really make an impact on their career and their progression.”

James Redden kissing the Under-21 European Championship trophy.

It was the first time in 39 years that England have won the Under-21 European Championship, and they did so without conceding a goal, which Redden cited saying: “Keeping clean sheets is a completely different task with the national teams because you are trying to knit them all together from their clubs, you sometimes get the group in a really different place.

“Some players may have been injured and not played, some have come in off the back of a Premier League or Championship season, so the first couple of weeks we try and get everyone in a similar place so the manager can pick who he wants and can be confident that they can play.

“We had six games in 17 days, so it was a really busy schedule, the job was to try and rotate players within games to keep them fresh, try to drop players out to rest them in between games and then just all about recovery in the couple of days between matches. Hopefully we gave them the best platform to perform technically and to concede no goals was amazing from the boys.”

James Redden (far right) with the rest of the Sports Science department after winning promotion to the Premier League.

Manchester City goalkeeper James Trafford made an incredible penalty save in the 98th minute of the final against Spain and Redden explained his experience of that from the bench.

“I was getting the gels and all the energy stuff lined up on the side of the pitch because I thought we were going to extra time. I don’t really remember it, I was crouched down, and all the lads are running around me when he saved the penalty and the follow-up shot as well, it feels like a blank but what a feeling it was when it happened.

“Because you are away for five weeks, when that moment comes it feels like validation of all that work you’ve put in was worth it. The play-off final was different because it was huge, but I always feel so happy for the group of lads that I work with like when we got promoted.”

Returning to The Brache this week, Redden is now focused on the Town’s first ever Premier League campaign, which starts at Brighton & Hove Albion next month.

He said: “I can’t wait for next season to start now, it feels like pre-season is too long, it’s going to be great. Getting these Premier League teams down to the Kenny, the lads deserve to go up against them after last season, I think we are going to have a great time and a great season, take some scalps. The Kenny is going to be a fortress and I just want to get going now.”

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