BBelieve it or not, Andrew Redmayne likes to blend in with a crowd. Ideally an audience that does not recognize him as the dancing goalkeeper, or the gray Wiggle, or the man who denied Peru a place in the World Cup.
“I had a photo in a suit last night,” he says at the Australian camp in Doha. “A suit and a photo are my two worst enemies.”
This is the same man who put up a ridiculous penalty shootout in June and engaged in the kind of top shelf rubbish that would definitely get him recognized in quite a few places. Fortunately, Doha is not one of them.
Australia has been virtually incognito since arriving in the country a week ago, training and staying at the Aspire Academy and barely setting foot outside its borders. If they do, no covert planning operation is required.
“We would be one of the few countries that can actually walk through a shopping center on the eve of a World Cup and fade into the background,” he says.
Redmayne may not like the spotlight, but the past six months have been a lesson in adaptation. The 33-year-old’s tactical substitution at the end of extra time not only saw Australia win the famous qualifier but also made him an instant breakfast TV star.
It also made international headlines. The media in Qatar seem to know only one nugget of information about the Socceroos – that their bearded goalkeeper tossed his Peruvian counterpart’s shootout notes to clinch a spot at a fifth consecutive World Cup.
Six months later, he steps back into his role as backup to first-choice Mat Ryan, who retains his place in the national team despite early setbacks at his Danish club, FC Copenhagen.
Maty has been phenomenal,” says Redmayne. “He is a consummate professional. He’s been through sort of spells with not that much playing time, but he’s always played for Australia.”
“Mat is the captain of the national team, he’s a consummate professional, and anything I can do to help him perform and prepare for games is something I’m happy to do,” said Redmayne.
He won’t need to help him prepare for Karim Benzema, who was ruled out this weekend in news that was felt within the team as a mix of disappointment, sympathy and relief.
“I think you always want to test yourself against the best, and right now he’s the best in the world, so it’s sad to see him go missing,” says Redmayne. “From a World Cup point of view, too, you want to see the best players on the field. But whoever puts on a blue shirt becomes a world-class player.”
France, on the other hand, knows very little about the first opponents of their title defense, a factor that Redmayne does not see as positive or negative.
“It all just falls on us to execute our game plan and be strong and resolute in our own physical, technical and tactical side,” he says. “Whoever comes on the field for France becomes a world-class player and we have to bring the game to them, be physical and really execute that game.
“The intensity [in training] really up a notch for the UAE and Peru games and I think we even added to that in this camp.