When news happens, text BAZ and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Ward-Prowse - my debt to Poch
8:00am Saturday 31st August 2013 in Sport
James Ward-Prowse believes his performances this season have started to repay the faith shown in him by Mauricio Pochettino.
The 18-year-old has started the opening two matches of the Premier League campaign, turning in a pair of stand-out displays, against West Brom and Sunderland.
Ward-Prowse broke into the first-team last season, but was unable to hold down a regular place, starting four games and making 11 substitute appearances in the league.
But he has grasped the opportunity given to him this term by the Saints manager, Pochettino.
“I knew the introduction of Victor Wanyama into the team was going to be really difficult, so I knew I had to work even harder than last year to get back in the team, and thankfully I have,” said Ward-Prowse, who will be hoping to start this afternoon’s match at Norwich. “The manager’s put his trust in me to go out and do the business, and I feel like I’ve done well.
“I’ve just got to concentrate on a daily basis that I keep working as hard as I can to improve myself and obviously that will lead me into the weekend and getting more starts.”
Pochettino hailed the performances of Ward-Prowse so far this season, describing him as a player who appears mature beyond his years.
“He’s a very consistent player, very regular in the way that he plays, his mentality is very strong and very positive,” he said.
“Despite his youth, he seems like a player who has been playing for a very long time in the Premiership.
“We saw his progress throughout the pre-season and we thought it would be good for him to start those two games.
“We will see from now on how well he does in the coming games, but we think he is a very competitive player and that’s why he’s been in the squad.”
Ward-Prowse is one of a number of academy graduates who have featured in the first-team this season.
Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers have also started both of Saints’ opening two Premier League games, alongside the more senior Adam Lallana, who is now the captain.
The club also handed debuts to youth products Omar Rowe, Harrison Reed and Jake Sinclair, while Lloyd Isgrove was given his first senior start, in Tuesday’s 5-1 Capital One Cup victory at Barnsley.
“I think it’s important to have a good nucleus of home grown players, especially using players from our academy,” said Pochettino, who believes Saints can be an example to other clubs in the country.
“Moving forward, that is how we want to proceed, just reinforcing that nucleus of home grown players from the academy.
“I think the job Nicola (Cortese, the chairman) has done here developing the academy has been excellent and I have been happily surprised by this.
“I want to congratulate the club because they have been on a run of keeping that project alive and adding to it every year and that needs to be praised.
“I think this club has been a pioneer in bringing up youth players and taking them to the top divisions.
“It has been a great project and I think it will produce a lot of future stars.
“I think Southampton could be a very good example for the rest of English football.”
Comments are closed on this article.