My alarm goes off, I get up and have a stretch. Once my muscles and joints are feeling ready to motor, I go downstairs and have a small bowl of cereal.
I’m feeling Special K Red Berries at the moment. No, I’m not on a diet, they’re just tasty!
Fuelled up, it’s time to get fresh. I jump in the shower and make sure i’m clean. Then I will get changed and doss around the house before sliding into my ride and heading to the ground.
Pumping out some pre-match tunes in the car on my way to the game is essential. I usually listen to a bit of Drake or J Cole, but recently i’ve been listening to a lot of Migos - their beats get me pumped for the game!
I’m fired up! Once I get to St Mary’s, I head straight for the changing room and put on my training kit. It’s about this time that my stomach rumbles.
It’s time to eat yet again! Before I can stuff my face, I say hello to all of the Southampton club staff. Then I sit down with the rest of the boys to tuck into some pre-game scrambled eggs and pasta. Not all together, of course. That’d be disgusting…
While my pre-game meal is going down I spend some time chilling out with Ryan Bertrand, Charlie Austin and Virgil van Dijk and watch the lunchtime game. We’ll talk about the game and how we’re going to play against our opponents.
Time to get serious. We will have a pre-game meeting with all of the players and staff, going back over the things we’ve been working on during the week, including set-pieces. I start to think about the clips I’ve watched of my opponent and how I’m going to terrorise them for the next 90 minutes.
After all the eating and chilling I’ve been doing, I need to get the blood flowing again so I head into the pre-activation room and start to loosen up. The manager comes and gives his pre-game team talk to us and some of the other senior players will also say their piece.
Yep, you guessed it: more warming up - I don’t want to get injured, do I?
Warm up like Nathan:
stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly. Push into the ground and leap upwards, driving your knees up towards your chest and bringing your arms out in front. Cushion the landing using bent knees. Do 12 of these and then repeat.
Single leg glue bridge
Lie on your back with your left knee bent to 90 degrees. Lift your hips up off the floor while keeping the right leg straight. Hold and then return to the start position. Do both sides for 20 seconds each, three times.
Standing hurdle steps
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, engaging both your knees and hips in preparation for the exercise. Drive off your right leg - to the left - landing gently on the ball of your left foot. Then repeat the motion in the opposite direction. Do two sets of 10 on each leg.
I go back into the changing room to get my kit on ready for battle. I always put my right shin pad on before the left and lay out my shirt on my lap with my name facing upwards before I put it on. And then I will pray.
It’s almost time! In the tunnel I’m trying to stay cool but I’m usually standing in front of Dusan Tadic and he’s always talking or smacking both of my shoulders to gee us up. I hate that sometimes! Just leave it Dusan, I’m trying to focus here!
Now it’s game time! I walk out on to the St Mary’s pitch and our home stadium is always full of fans. And it’s always so loud, too. I take a deep breath and it’s game day. This is what I’ve been dreaming of doing my whole life.
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