Ward-Prowse ready for Toulon test against Brazil

Sunday 25 May 2014
James Ward-Prowse captained England Under-21s against Qatar last week
James Ward-Prowse says England Under-21s will be approaching Brazil with respect on Monday, but also going all-out for victory.

The Three Lions take on the South Americans in their second game of the Toulon Tournament in St. Raphael, after making a winning start against Qatar last week.

And after seeing Brazil briefly in their 2-0 win over Korea Republic before England’s match on Thursday and on video clips since, the Southampton midfielder says they’ll approach the game in the right manner.

England v Brazil

The Toulon Tournament
6.30pm, Monday 26 May 2014
Stade Louis Hon, St. Raphael
Live on BT Sport

 


"We are here to win the tournament – it doesn’t matter who the opposition is," said the 19-year-old. 

"They are all quality players, everyone looks up to them as a great footballing nation.

"We have seen clips of them and looking at the game, we will give them respect but we want to win."

For Ward-Prowse and the rest of the squad, the Brazil game is the one which catches the eye and in which they all want to play, so competition for places is high.

The mere mention of Brazilian players from the past can often evoke memories of Samba icons in the famous gold, blue and white for football fans of all ages.

England Under-21s observe the national anthem before playing Qatar in Toulon.

England, led by Ward-Prowse, line-up for the game with Qatar

 

But having come face-to-face with some of Brazil’s stars in the Premier League this season, Ward-Prowse has no fear of Monday’s opposition.

"They will have quality," he added. 

"Really [growing up] it was just seeing Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and the flair players. 

"Now we are seeing Neymar come to the fold and I’ve played against some of the Chelsea lads like Willian, Oscar and David Luiz. 

"There can only be eleven names on the [England] team-sheet but that means we are competing against each other. 

"When we train at our clubs and when we come away with England, we are always in a competitive environment - we always want to do better. 

"There is no point coming here if you don’t want to win. 

"Obviously it is good to get the experience but the winning mentality is what matters – that’s what helps you get trophies and medals."

One early international honour for Ward-Prowse has been the captain’s armband and he led out the Three Lions for the win over Qatar with Jack Butland rested for that game.

England Under-21s are led out by James Ward-Prowse to face Qatar in Toulon.

Ward-Prowse leads out the team against Qatar on Thursday

 

He’s also held the same honour at U19 level and it’s a job which he wants to excel in, one that he enjoys and depending on Southgate’s selection, would be happy to do against Brazil.

"It means everything to me," he admits. "My idols growing up were Lampard, Gerrard and Beckham, they have all had the captaincy. 

"That is something I have tried to add to my own game, becoming a leader. 

"That is a target of mine to try and nail it down. For some people, that just comes naturally. Other things you can work on in training, how to give instructions and when to talk.

"We don’t know the team [for Monday] yet but it would be great. But really, it doesn’t matter who we are playing against. 

"It is just an honour to captain the country, no matter the opposition."

By Nicholas Veevers in Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer, France