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Jamie Redknapp: I love doing school run, it's good fun

Ex-player and football pundit Jamie Redknapp talks to Kate Whiting about fatherhood, his sons' love of sport and why wife Louise is the love of his life

Jamie Redknapp politely pauses our conversation, and is back on the phone a minute later to apologise: "Sorry about that, my wife keeps calling 'cos I'm picking the kids up and she's ringing up asking where I am."

His wife is, of course, former member of girl band Eternal and then solo singer Louise, and their kids are 11-year-old Charley and Beau, 7, who both take after their dad - and granddad Harry - as keen football players.

For Redknapp, doing the school run is just one of the best bits about his new career, which involves hosting Sky Sports' Saturday Night Football, and being a team captain on Sky 1's comedy panel show A League Of Their Own, hosted by James Corden.

"Yeah, I love doing the school run, I can't wait to speak to them and see what they're up to," says the handsome 42-year-old.

"A lot of dads do, a lot of my friends, 'specially sometimes on Fridays. It's easier with myself than some dads, because of my work, a lot of times I work weekends or the odd evening and it's easier for me than for some parents, but I do always enjoy picking the kids up. My little one has got football on a Friday night, so I go and pick him up, it's great fun."

Redknapp's footballing career started at Bournemouth, under his manager dad Harry, and he was signed to Liverpool when he was 17 in 1991, the £350,000 fee being one of the highest paid for a teenager at the time.

In the mid-Nineties, the midfielder became one of the poster boys of English football, along with Manchester United's Ryan Giggs and Lee Sharpe, but he was dogged by injury. Named Liverpool captain for the 1999-2000 season, he was forced to sit many of the games out with a knee injury, for which he had surgery in America.

In 2002, he joined Tottenham Hotspur on a free transfer and ended his career in 2005 as he'd begun it - playing for dad, this time at Southampton.

"Every now and again, I see a physio about it, but it doesn't really [bother me] - I can go and have a kickabout in the garden with the kids," he says now of his injury.

"If you say to me now, 'Go for a five-mile run', I couldn't do it, I couldn't do a mile run on it, it would hurt and swell up, but I don't mind. I can walk around a golf course, that's my real passion now in terms of sport."

Golf, another game he'd grown up playing with his dad, helped him "fill the void" football left when he was forced to retire from the game aged only 31. To put that in perspective, his cousin Frank Lampard's still playing as a midfielder for New York City FC aged 37.

"You never know what's going to happen in life," he's said of the abrupt end to his career. "All of a sudden, my football career was over and golf helped to fill the void."

Luckily, he'd already settled down with wife Louise (they married in 1998) and Charley was still just a baby, so his personal life was looking up. He admits Louise has been a rock, helping him through the tough times.

"She's been the best thing that's ever happened to me really, I've always said that, she's been there for me when I've had injuries and tough times, and that's what you need, a good support base. And then when you have kids, it makes a real difference as well, it adds to your life."

He admits that "sometimes I'm not that easy to live with, because I am quite selfish at times", but says the key to their long-lasting marriage is "we just get on well".

Louise encourages them all to sit down to eat as a family: "It's difficult sometimes as there's so much sport after school, but we do try to as much as possible - there's nothing better than having a sit down after coming back from football and talking about the day."

Redknapp, who is back judging Budweiser's Dream Goal competition this year, is quite "health-conscious" and sticks to salads, veggies, chicken and fish, admitting: "I'm a pretty plain eater", but he likes the odd treat.

"A new fish and chip shop's opened where we live [in Surrey] and I love a bit of fish and chips and a takeaway."

Besides golf, he regularly works out at the gym with a mate, with the odd lapse.

"A friend of mine, one of the dads from my little boy's team, we train three times a week together with a fitness coach in Cobham. We do it religiously, we love it... OK, nobody loves it, but we do it, and we support each other through it.

"I'm meant to be training today, but I just thought, 'I can't be bothered'. I'm having one of those days. I thought I'd rather go and have nine holes of golf than train. But I feel I can eat my dinner and have a nice glass of wine, if I've done a bit of training."

He's pleased that his boys both like their sport and says, "I wouldn't want to put any pressure on them".

"I love going to watch them play and encouraging them to do as much sport as I can. I love playing golf with my oldest son and the little one helping me. I'm a sports fanatic, so it's a big part of our life."

And with that, he's off to pick up his sons from school.

Jamie Redknapp is judging Budweiser Dream Goal 2016. To enter, visit www.budweiser.co.uk/dreamgoal

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