Believe it or not, Andrew Redmayne is more than happy to blend into a crowd. Ideally a crowd which does not recognise him as the dancing goalkeeper, or the grey Wiggle, or the guy who denied Peru a place at the World Cup.
“I had a photo last night in a suit,” he says in the Australian camp in Doha. “A suit and a photo are my two worst enemies.”
This is the same man who, back in June, produced a humdinger of a penalty shootout performance and engaged in the kind of top-shelf shithousery that would absolutely get him recognised in quite a few places. Doha, thankfully is not one of them.
Australia have been effectively incognito since arriving in the country a week ago, training and staying at the Aspire Academy and barely setting foot outside its perimeters. When they do, there is no covert planning operation required.
“We’d be one of the few nations that could actually walk through a shopping centre on the eve of a World Cup and kind of just slip into the background,” he says.
Redmayne may not revel in the spotlight but these past six months have been a lesson in adapting. The 33-year-old’s tactical substitution at the end of extra-time not only ensured Australia’s famous qualifying playoff win but also made him an instant breakfast TV star.
It made international headlines, too. Media in Qatar seem to know only one nugget of information about the Socceroos – that their bearded goalkeeper tossed away the shootout notes of his Peru counterpart and went on to seal a spot at a fifth consecutive World Cup.
Half a year later he is, once more, stepping back into his role as the back-up for first choice Mat Ryan, who retains his spot in the national team despite untimely setbacks at his Danish club, FC Copenhagen.
Maty’s been phenomenal,” Redmayne says. “He’s a consummate professional. He’s kind of been through spells with not so much game time, but he’s always performed for Australia.”
“Mat’s the national team captain, he’s a consummate professional, and anything I can do to help him perform and prepare for matches, I’m more than happy to do that,” Redmayne said.
He won’t have to help him prepare for Karim Benzema, who was ruled out over the weekend in news that has been felt among the team as a mix of disappointment, sympathy and relief.
“I think you always want to test yourself against the best, and currently he’s the best thing in the world, so it’s sad to see him miss out,” Redmayne says. “From a World Cup point of view as well, you want see the best players on the pitch. But whoever pulls on a blue shirt is going to be a world-class player.”
France, on the other hand, know very little about the first opponents of their title defence, a factor that Redmayne isn’t considering a positive or negative.
“It all just falls back on us executing our game plan, and being strong and resolute in our own physical, technical and tactical side,” he says. “Whoever does step on the field for France is going to be a world class player and we need to take the game to them, be physical and really execute that game.
“The intensity [in training] really turned up a notch for the UAE and Peru games and I think we’ve even added to that in this camp.”