FORMER professional footballer Jamie Redknapp returned to his Christchurch secondary school to give an inspiring talk to students.

The Sky Sports pundit spoke to aspiring sports and media students at Twynham School on March 15.

His Q&A was part of the school’s bi-annual State School Alumni Event, which invites years 11, 12 and 13 students from both the Twynham and The Grange schools.

38 former pupils from across the decades spoke to students about their careers, providing them with vital contacts in the industry.

Bournemouth Echo:

Mr Redknapp told the students how he took his education for granted and has since realised how important it was to have great role models, like his two former sports teachers.

“There were certainly a couple of teachers that were so important in my upbringing.”

He added: “Mr. Broadwell, who was a fantastic rugby athletics teacher and a guy called Mr. Jackson.

“They were both, I would actually say, as important as my dad.”

Mr Redknapp said one teacher would encourage him to play badminton to improve him as an athlete for football.

However, he said that success is not always about talent, but passion.

“Sometimes it's about wanting something so badly that it hurts you, going to bed early, sacrificing yourself.”

Bournemouth Echo:

He added that he wished he had worked harder in school, and that his knee injury which stopped him from playing football aged 31 was ‘devastating’.

Mr Redknapp has now worked as a pundit for Sky Sports for 19 years.

Speaking to the Echo, Mr Redknapp said he regrets not returning to his former school earlier in his career and that it was lovely to see the students listening intently.

He last visited the school 15 years ago when he opened a new dance studio at Twynham in 2009. 

Bournemouth Echo:

Daniel Hill, director of sixth form and assistant had, said: “We are trying to get young people to break the glass ceiling of what they think they are capable of.”

Mr Hill said the alumni event aims to break the barrier of state school students not having contacts in the industry.

Bournemouth Echo: Tayla Bradley, Amiee Stride and Ed Hardy

Ed Hardy and Tayla Bradley left Twynham just six months ago and have since joined J.P Morgan alongside fellow alumni, Amiee Stride, who left two years ago.

Amiee said she knew university was not for her and that the school supported her with her apprenticeship.

Ollie Rowlands, a Twynham alumni, left sixth form in 2007 and has been working as a pilot for 13 years.

He said his career began with work experience at Bournemouth Airport, where he started flight training whilst still in school.

Ollie said he is still in contact with a group of friends from school and was more than happy to share his experiences with current students.