REUTERS – Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse has said the experience of wearing the captain’s armband for the England under-21s will help him realise his long-term ambition of skippering the Premier League side.
Ward-Prowse, who made his Southampton debut as a 16-year-old, led by example with a goal in the under-21’s 3-1 victory over Switzerland in Monday’s European Championship qualifier in Brighton.
The 21-year-old, who has made 11 Premier League appearances for the Saints this season, said his immediate goal was to nail down a regular spot in the starting line-up at the south coast club but he did hold bigger aspirations.
“Becoming captain of Southampton is a target for me in the long term so to get this sort of experience now is going to stand me in good stead for that,” Ward-Prowse, who has captained England under-21 five times, told the Daily Mail.
“(England under-21 manager) Gareth Southgate has helped me a lot in adapting to the role of being captain, but trying to nail down a permanent spot in the Southampton side is the priority at the moment.
“To play for your country is nice, but to lead them out is fantastic. It’s broadened my experience and given me a different role in the team and I’m enjoying every minute of it.”
Southampton, who sit seventh in the league table, host 12th placed Stoke City in the league on Saturday.
(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru. Editing by Patrick Johnston)