SKY Sports pundit Paul Merson has backed Nathan Redmond to grab his England opportunity with both hands.

The Saints ace was Gareth Southgate’s surprise inclusion for next month’s Uefa Nations League finals squad.

Redmond ended the season as the club’s top scorer on nine goals, pipping striker Danny Ings by one.

And writing for the Daily Star, Merson said: “Nathan Redmond deserves his place in the England squad. I think he’s improved immensely. 

“He’s been Southampton’s best player this season by far. He’s worked really hard. His confidence has impressed me. He can go past people and he makes better decisions.

“Last year he was a bit of a ‘head down’ player. Now he knows when to pass it. He gets people out of their seats.

“The manager has given him belief, and that’s important. He’s done his time in the Under-21s and he’s always turned up. 

“He hasn’t pulled out of squads because he didn’t fancy it.”

When he reports for England duty, Redmond will be joined by fellow Saint James Ward-Prowse.

Ward-Prowse was involved in the last Three Lions squad, earning his second gap in the comfortable win away to Montenegro back in March.

Southgate will be trimming his squad from 27 down to 23 before the semi-final against Holland on 6 June.

Should they win that match, the Three Lions will play either Portugal or Switzerland in the final.