FOR a while last summer, it seemed Nathan Redmond would be a regular at the Liberty Stadium.
In Landore tonight, the Norwich City winger delivered a performance to suggest that he might feature on Swansea City’s wish list during this close season.
Swansea agreed a fee with Birmingham City for Redmond, but the player opted to join his former Blues boss Chris Hughton at Carrow Road.
With Hughton gone and Norwich in the Championship, Redmond might now be more tempted by the chance to move to Wales should Swansea, who are in the market for at least one wide player, come calling again.
Certainly, the 20-year-old looked at home as he netted a hat-trick to give England Under-21s victory in their European Championship qualifier against Wales.
Crystal Palace’s Welsh international Jonny Williams, a rumoured Swansea target this summer, was in the crowd, as was Chris Coleman.
They watched Wales put in a decent shift, the home side rallying impressively after Redmond’s first goal to give England a fright.
Their goal came from a wide player who is already on Swansea’s books — but has been out on loan at Crawley Town — Gwion Edwards.
But after Redmond restored England’s advantage, Wales could not respond again.
And Gareth Southgate’s men were celebrating again in stoppage time, Redmond curling a shot into the far corner of the net to complete his treble.
Already slim before this defeat, Wales’s hopes of reaching the 2015 championship in the Czech Republic are fading fast.
Wales had begun the game on the back foot, Redmond finding space in the home penalty area inside the first 70 seconds only to slice a left-footed shot into the side netting.
It was an early warning for Geraint Williams’s team, and it was one they failed to heed.
Redmond, one of a number of players in the England side with Premier League ranks, was the game’s most influential performer.
He crossed sweetly on ten minutes only for Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard to head wastefully over the top.
The breakthrough came next, Redmond snaffling possession after Lloyd Isgrove’s heavy touch on the Welsh right.
He powered into the penalty area almost unchallenged, then rattled in a low shot which beat Wales keeper Connor Roberts at his near post.
The hosts could not grumble having conceded, for they had barely been in the game up until this point.
Yet England’s opener prompted a Welsh response, Bristol City striker Wes Burns forcing a smart save from Jack Butland having been played in by Swansea’s Lee Lucas.
From the corner which followed, another Swansea player took centre stage.
Gwion Edwards may not score many headers in his career, but the diminutive winger rose highest to meet Lee Evans’s corner and head beyond Butland, who came but failed to collect.
Edwards is yet to appear for Swansea at the Liberty, but he now has a memorable goal at the ground to his name.
Having pulled level, Wales might easily have gone in front.
Burns’s 25-yarder was smothered by Butland, but the big opportunity fell to Isgrove.
Sent through by Evans, the Southampton wideman tried to loft the ball over England’s keeper, who stood tall and saved.
Now it was England’s turn to respond, and Lingard and Everton full-back Luke Garbutt both saw shots saved before the visitors’ lead was restored.
Again the goal came from a Wales error, Fulham’s Kieron Freeman gifting possession to Garbutt.
He fed Lingard who squared for Redmond, and he drove the ball beyond Cheltenham keeper Roberts from 20 yards.
Williams sent on Swansea’s Daniel Alfei in an attempt to combat Redmond in the second half, but the wideman went waltzing through again just before the hour.
His low shot beat Roberts, but this time the post saved Wales.
It did not matter, however. Wales faded as the contest wore on, and were fortunate not to fall further behind as Lingard twice tested Roberts.
England eventually got their third goal in stoppage time, Redmond claiming the match ball with another neat finish.