2nd March 2019- James Ward-Prowse scores a beautiful free kick to level the scores away at Old Trafford. 9th March 2019- James Ward Prowse scores a beautiful free kick to give his side all three points against third place Tottenham, could Southampton have found their new talisman?
The Portsmouth born midfielder has been on the books of Southampton since the age of 8, and has been long touted as the next big thing on the south coast following his 2011 debut at the age of 16. A first team regularly since 2013 and a member of various England youth sides, it was only seen as a matter of time before one of the big sides snapped him up.
The hardworking midfielder has often shown maturity beyond his years, and has a wicked set piece delivery weather that be from corners or free kicks. Strong in the tackle and with an impressive passing range, he has also shown leadership skills, captaining the Saints a number of times.
But manager Mark Hughes wasn’t convinced, and many struggled to see where he would fit into the system. New summer signing Stuart Armstrong was added to an already strong midfield of Mario Lemina, Oriol Romeu, Jordie Clasie and Harrison Reed, add this to the fact he had lost his place at the back end of 17/18, and it looked likely to be a tough campaign for Ward-Prowse.
After being in and out of the side at the start of the season, Ward-Prowse managed to reestablish himself as a first team regular following Mark Hughes’ dismissal and Ralph Hasenhuttl’s appointment, and hasn’t looked back since.
Important goals against Leicester, Everton and Crystal Palace have been followed up with three goals in three against Fulham, United and Spurs, meaning Ward-Prowse is already having the best goal scoring season of his career.
It has taken longer than many expected but it now seems Ward-Prowse is ready to step up to the next level, after a number of seasons of showing flashes of his ability he is now delivering consistently and proving to be a match winner for the Saints.
After making his senior England bow in March 2017 as a 82nd minute sub for Jake Livermore, Ward-Prowse must now have his eye on forcing his way into the side again and staying there this time.
Breaking into this current England team won’t be easy after the three lions have enjoyed a very successful 12 months and are set to contest the Nations League Semi Finals this summer. This could prove to be the breakout season for Ward-Prowse, he’ll have to keep his current form up and hope he has caught Gareth Southgate’s eye, but it finally appears Southampton have another local midfielder to get excited about.