Ward-Prowse reflects on turnaround in fortunes

By SFC Media time Mon 14 Jan Men's First team
Photo by Matt Watson | James Ward-Prowse

For James Ward-Prowse, like the Southampton team itself, the arrival of manager Ralph Hasenhüttl has prompted something of a turnaround.

The midfielder at one stage this season had moved to the periphery of the Saints squad, starting only two Premier League games under Mark Hughes this term, but he has been enjoying a revival in recent weeks under the new boss.

Ward-Prowse has started the last four matches, being handed the captain's armband in the FA Cup game at Derby, and has become a key contributor in the centre of midfield recent weeks, particularly in the absence of the suspended Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.

i've been pleased with how i've kicked on the last couple of weeks, and hopefully that can continue.

james ward-prowse
southampton midfielder

It is a change in fortunes that the 24-year-old has had to work hard to help achieve, and he is relishing the run he is currently on.

"When the new manager comes in you want to impress, you want to be in his plans straight away," Ward-Prowse told reporters after Saturday's 2-1 win at Leicester City, in which he opened the scoring from the penalty spot.

"Up at Huddersfield I was the 19th man having travelled and that sort of hit me quite hard, but then two weeks later at Derby I was captain of the team, so that was a bit of a change around. I've been pleased with how I've kicked on the last couple of weeks and hopefully that can continue."

Ward-Prowse puts the improvement in his situation partly down to some honest feedback received from Hasenhüttl.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: James Ward-Prowse of Southampton celebrates after converting from the penalty spot  during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Southampton FC at The King Power Stadium on January 12, 2019 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
James Ward-Prowse celebrates after scoring from the spot against Leicester

"He's had individual chats with everyone and he's told me a few weaknesses and strengths of mine and what he wants to see more of if I want to play as a central midfielder in his team, so I took that into training and he's obviously been impressed," he said.

"It's good to have a manager who can communicate well with you and tell you what he wants from you as a player to be in his team."

So what has the key message been?

"To be more aggressive for him to be in his team, that's the way he likes to press – on the front foot, winning the ball up the pitch, so you have to be able to win tackles and it's good I've been given that information and I can work on weaknesses of mine and hopefully I can grow," he said.

James Ward-Prowse
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On a wider scale, Ward-Prowse said the impact Hasenhüttl has had is becoming clear for everyone to see.

"The difference has been unbelievable," he said. "We've got a clear structure and a plan in what we do without the ball and with the ball, and you can see in the performances in the games we've had that there's an idea, there's a philosophy, and that's growing. We've had some good results, some bad results, but I think the progress is there to be seen.

"Over the Christmas period we haven't been able to train as much, but I think now we've got week-to-week games we'll be able to do more. It is a lot more demanding, but the rewards are there for when we do score quick goals on the counter attack and we are on the front foot, and that's the style that we need to be playing.

"We've done quite a lot of video work, so a lot of looking at videos of the ideas he wants to implement and then it's up to us to go and do it. I think he's been impressed with the way we've adapted to it and bought into his style of play."


Monday Briefing: January 14th
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