For Southampton, now, it’s time to push on. After all, it was only three years ago that the club finished sixth, their second successive season in the top seven. With that in mind, fans will surely pray the good times can return after what has been a difficult two years in Hampshire. Here, in our It’s a big season for feature, we’ll be taking a look as to why the upcoming campaign is so important for the man in question.
But while it’s a vastly important period for the club as a whole, it’s to be an equally important period individually for one man – James Warde-Prowse. The Englishman had largely fallen out of favour under Mark Hughes but appeared rejuvenated subsequently to the appointment of Hasenhüttl, telling BT Sport back in April that he believes the Austrian coach ‘saved’ his career.
Indeed, Ward-Prowse (along with Nathan Redmond) finished as Southampton’s stand-out player despite the aforementioned struggles. Clearly a figure in Gareth Southgate’s thoughts due to his involvement with the national team set-up despite missing out on the final cut for the UEFA Nations League, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine him getting more of a chance with the Three Lions if he can keep his performances up.
With Euro 2020 edging ever closer and Southgate’s preferred engine room not yet abundantly clear, the Southampton man will obviously know quite how important next season will be. Indeed, should he continue in the form that he showed towards the back-end of the season, he has a genuine chance of a call-up.
Having made 193 Premier League appearances for Southampton, it’s easy to forget that the Englishman is still just 24-years-old. Ward-Prowse has shown he’s more than capable at the top level, but the midfielder can become a top player if he builds on a hugely successful season individually. Now he’s added goals to his game it seems, the assists need to come. Frankly, the fact he didn’t get any last season might be a reflection on the club’s poor finishing as much as his own struggle, but he does need to start influencing attacks a touch more often.
Southampton’s midfield dynamo is now valued at £13.5m (as per TransferMarkt), but his stock will surely rise should he continue to play as he is. Still, for now, it’s crucial that he focusses on his performances at Southampton in what will be a pivotal season in his career.
Southampton fans, just how good is James Ward-Prowse? Would he be good enough to get into a top side? Comment below.