James Ward-Prowse rallies Under-21s for Kazakhstan test

Thursday 08 Oct 2015
James Ward-Prowse was named as the new U21s captain in September
James Ward-Prowse is keen to ensure a relaxed and enjoyable environment awaits for his England Under-21 squad-mates when they report for international duty.

The Southampton midfielder was named as U21s captain Gareth Southgate during the squad’s first meet-up of the new campaign in September.

And with Southgate’s new group to reunite on Thursday, Ward-Prowse wants to see the players continue growing together as a team. 

England v Kazakhstan

UEFA European U21 Championship
Group 9 Qualifier
5.45pm, Tuesday 13 October 2015
Ricoh Arena, Coventry
Live on BT Sport
Click here for tickets

"England U21s is a comfortable environment and it’s one where you should be able to relax in and play your best football," explained Ward-Prowse.

"You need to have that spirit and as captain, I’ve been speaking to the manager about the ways that we can increase that.

"Jack Butland was a terrific leader for the group last time and I learnt a lot from him because he was a great leader on and off the pitch.

"But the more we trained together last month and the more matches we played together, you could tell that the team spirit was building and that’s one of the key things for any team that’s successful.

James Ward-Prowse sends the keeper the wrong way

Ward-Prowse scored England's winner against Norway from the penalty spot last month

"All of the lads that have been selected have been good and wanted to help the team to gel, everyone is keen to get involved and you could tell that day-by-day and session-by-session when everyone was mixing in a little bit more, the team was looking better."

The squad meet up again on Thursday to begin their preparations for their next Euro Qualifier against Kazakhstan on Tuesday 13 October.

Ward-Prowse heads into the international week on the back of some positive recent results and performances with Southampton.

And the 20-year-old is hoping he can take that momentum into the game at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena, a venue where Ward-Prowse scored his first Saints goal back in 2012.

"From the club’s perspective, we were disappointed not to get into Europe but we’ve shown a lot of positivity to carry on and start as well as we have done," he added.

Watch highlights of England's first game of the season against USA at Deepdale

"We’ve picked up a few good results, but I just want to keep performing well for the club and doing positive things for England as well."

You can read a full interview with Ward-Prowse in the official match programme for the Kazakhstan game.

Tickets for the game at the Ricoh Arena on Tuesday 13 October are on sale now, priced at £10 for adults and £5 for concessions. 

Click here or call 024 7678 6411 to get yours.

By Nicholas Veevers