Former footballer Jamie Redknapp: ‘It’s so easy for us to just sit on our phones and spend time doing nothing’

Former Footballer Jamie Redknapp: ‘It’s So Easy For Us To Just Sit On Our Phones And Spend Time Doing Nothing’
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By Yolanthe Fawehinmi, PA

Jamie Redknapp wasn’t the best student in the school playground. But you would always find him playing football and tennis, or collecting Star Wars figures and Smurfs, while trading Panini football stickers.

After the Italian company launched their first album in the UK for the 1970 World Cup, British football fans – including the 50-year-old former footballer, who played for AFC Bournemouth, Southampton, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, captaining the latter two – caught the craze, made the rite of passage and held onto the time-honoured tradition.


“All I wanted to do was play sport,” says the Sky Sports pundit. He also played for England and was a part of the squad when they reached the Euro 1996  semi-finals. A highlight, though, was when he scored the winner in the 1999 England v Belgium friendly, where his cousin, Chelsea legend Frank Lampard made his international debut.

Jamie Redknapp, England
(Tony Marshall/EMPICS Sport/PA)

“I loved being outdoors. I was just always that kid playing football and a real collector, especially [of] the Panini stickers. I used to swap with people who could help me fill up my book and get it right.”


Redknapp grew up on the south coast, more specifically Bournemouth, where his father and former football manager Harry, joined AFC Bournemouth as assistant-boss to David Webb, before taking over managerial duties from Don Megson in October 1983.

He made some of his biggest memories while attending Twynham School, in Christchurch, and started playing in the Sunday League youth teams with his older brother Mark, before launching his professional football career at AFC Bournemouth when he was just 16 years old.

HMV Football Extravaganza - London
(Ian West/PA)


“I wasn’t the best student, if I’m honest, so I probably didn’t really get the real benefits of my time at school. And that’s something that I’ve always tried to make sure I instil in my kids because I don’t want them to take for granted how important school is and actually getting a good education,” says Redknapp, who married model Frida Andersson in October 2021 and welcomed their first child Raphael together in November 2021. The couple have six children between them from their former marriages, making them a blended family of nine.

“I have a lot of good memories, but also some lessons as well. You’ve got to put the hard work in. I obviously went down the football route very strongly, and it’s paid off. But if it hadn’t, it would have been a big mistake. I would have left school without any education and not made a footballer. So I was very fortunate that things went my way.”

This is why the Daily Mail sports columnist is helping M&S Food to launch their new Eat Well, Play Well summer home nations football sticker albums, in collaboration with Panini as their new food ambassador, to encourage parents and children to put the screens away and indulge in tech-free play.



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A post shared by Jamie Redknapp (@jamie.redknapp)


According to research conducted by the retailer, 28% of parents said sticker collecting helped develop communication skills and 20% admitted that sticker trading has also encouraged them to be more business-minded and develop negotiation skills.

“It’s quite entrepreneurial and makes you think outside of the box because you’ll be trying to negotiate with other kids at school. Sometimes you would have to lose something really good to get a sticker that isn’t as good, but long term, that would put you in a position to get something better,” says Redknapp.

Alessia Russo

“All of these little tricks you need to do are also life skills. It gives you a positive thing to be involved with and gets you looking forward to the Euros and World Cups whenever they come around.”

The data also found that although 66% of parents were worried about the amount of screen time their children have, only 44% of children admitted that they prefer to play games on their phones, iPads or computers instead of games without screens, including rock, paper, scissors, stuck in the mud and the floor is lava.

“Screen time can be so damaging for our kids’ mental health. And I’m no different. But I’m certainly trying. I’ll be on my phone and realise I’ve wasted an hour of my time scrolling through things that make no difference to my life. And some of it is nonsense, nasty and toxic, too,” says Redknapp.

“I remember when I would look at social media after a match and someone would write the most horrendous thing about me. I’ve just come off trying to do a job. It’s a lot easier to be a keyboard warrior, but if you actually had to walk up to them on the street, you’d never dream of saying it because there are consequences.

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“I would encourage parents to get their children into any kind of team or individual sport if they can. You have to make friends, converse, and do things that would put them out of their comfort zone. It taught me a lot about different people and cultures, it’s vitally important and progressive.”

Sport has always been so kind to Redknapp, so he’s always thinking about the ways he can push his children to do as much of it as possible.

“It doesn’t need to be football – though my youngest Raphael is obsessed with it. I’m very lucky. It’s like a dream – my eldest Charley, who is based in Arizona, plays rugby. There are so many great sports children can do now, especially with summer around the corner. Encourage them to be as energetic as you can because it’s so easy for us to just sit on our phones and spend time doing nothing.”

Jamie Redknapp is helping to launch M&S’s Eat Well, Play Well summer Home Nation’s Panini football sticker albums, with a pack of stickers free with every £20 spent in store. The album, available only from M&S, includes training tips and healthy recipe ideas for pre- and post-match meal prep.

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