No Warding off Southampton protege Prowse
With just three matches played of the Premier League season, Southampton lie in eighth place, with a win, draw and defeat.
Although average, one particular performer who is exceeding expectations, James Ward-Prowse, could be the next big thing to roll of the production line at St Mary’s after hugely encouraging performances.
His team are 14/1 to secure a top six finish this campaign, and Ward-Prowse has the potential to be the catalyst in making that happen. Last season’s chief string-puller Adam Lallana has left, and a vacancy exists to take over. Just like former Saints player Gareth Bale single-handedly steered Tottenham into a top six position, there is no reason why Ward-Prowse at the age of 19 can’t do exactly the same if he continues in a similar vein.
Growing up as a Portsmouth fan, and playing for their fierce rivals can’t be easy, yet the player has pulled this off with ease so far, since his promotion to Southampton’s first team. His free-kick ability has earned him comparisons to David Beckham, however coach Ronald Koeman has played down reports, in a clear attempt to keep the teenager’s feet on the ground.
Speaking earlier this campaign, the Dutchman said: “Ward-Prowse is a great player and I told him this week he had a big future, but comparing him to Beckham puts a lot of pressure on the boy because Beckham was an amazing player.
“He’s already played a lot of matches in the first team and is a boy from the academy.”
After the goalless home match against West Brom, the midfielder was first to admit that it wasn’t the easiest he has played in, despite impressing at Anfield a week earlier.
“It was a difficult game. Obviously they made it tough and it was in contrast to what we saw last week at Liverpool they were slightly more aggressive without the ball and fair play to West Brom – they made it very hard for us and we found it difficult to break down.
“That’s the beauty of the Premier League, you’re going to face different challenges every weekend, but that’s a show of our test and character and the way that we can adapt to those sort of situations.”
Southampton and England fans alike will just be glad Ward-Prowse for now is taking it one step at a time, as he works on his game under Koeman. A Beckham-esque free-kick to win the Three Lions the World Cup is a dream that can wait for now.