Saints pair get Together For England roadshow rolling

Thursday 22 Jan 2015
Can you spot the England and Southampton pair in the crowd of pupils?
Southampton and England pair James Ward-Prowse and Matt Targett helped launch the Together For England roadshow on the south coast.

The players visited pupils at St. Mary’s Primary School in Southampton, helping out in a skills session with Saints Foundation coaches before facing a lively Q&A with the youngsters.

With the school sitting in the shadow of Southampton's St. Mary’s home, there was delight on the faces of many of the youngsters when they arrived for what was the first in a series of monthly events planned across the country to further strengthen the Three Lions’ relationship in the community.

James Ward-Prowse and Matt Targett take questions from pupils.

The Saints and England take questions from the pupils

The duo both graduated through Southampton’s youth academy and into Ronald Koeman’s first-team squad themselves and enjoy a real affinity with the locals already.

And with St. Mary’s being one of Southampton’s most multi-cultural schools, with the majority of children speaking English as a second language, Ward-Prowse and Targett told pupils of their pride at playing for the Three Lions. They also handed out goody-bags in the hope of gaining some new England fans.

They even took time to turn their eye at being art critics, by judging an England-themed poster design competition that was held by the pupils. The winner received tickets for England’s game with Lithuania at Wembley in March.

"I hope we helped to inspire a few new England fans today," said England Under-21s midfielder Ward-Prowse.

"It’s nice to come down and see the smiles on their faces and I remember when I was younger and players would come and show their support and try to inspire us. And they certainly did that.

"Hopefully they can go home happy with the thoughts of what they might be able to do in the future."

The visit also brought back good memories for England U20s defender Targett, who made his Saints debut earlier this season. 

Matt Targett hands out England goody-bags in Southampton.

Matt Targett hands out some England goody-bags to pupils

"It was nice to come and see the young kids," he added.

"I remember when players would come to my primary school, I used to just think ‘wow, I want to do what they do’.

"It would make my day to see players coming down, so it was great to do it myself here in Southampton.

"I grew up supporting England and was lucky enough to go to a few games so it’s good to support and help them on occasions like this.

"I came through the local soccer schools with Southampton, I went there for three or four days at Fleming Park in Eastleigh and did quite well as one of the coaching staff said they wanted to give me a trial.

"Ever since then, I’ve been working my way through the academy, so it was good to see the Saints Foundation coaches here working with these kids."

It’s set to be a busy couple of months for England at all levels.

England Women meet USA in Milton Keynes on Friday 13 February. The senior men’s side continue their 2016 European Championship qualifying campaign against Lithuania at Wembley on Friday 27 March.

Meanwhile, the Under-21s will host their German counterparts at the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough on Monday 30 March (7.45pm kick-off) as a send-off for this summer’s U21 European Championship in Czech Republic.

Ticket details for all three fixtures can be found by clicking here.

The Together For England Roadshow is a nationwide drive aimed at inspiring current and future Three Lions fans.

Following on from the release of the England DNA philosophy, the roadshows will look to encourage a consistent thread of national pride aimed at creating a better England, both on and off-the-field.

Watch as James Ward-Prowse is questioned by two local pupils in Southampton

 


By Nicholas Veevers