Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse says that he is ‘honoured’ to be named as the new England Under-21 captain.
The 20-year-old has previously captained the Three Lions at U19 and U20 level and is hoping he can help inspire England’s young guns after their disappointing showing at the European Championship finals in the summer.
England were eliminated at the group stage after winning just one of their three fixtures however Ward-Prowse eager to get going again and overjoyed after being named skipper by Gareth Southgate.
“It’s a great honour, everybody’s dream is to play for England and represent their country at the highest level and to get the honour of the armband is a great privilege for me and something that I’m going to cherish,” said Ward-Prowse, who has 13 caps for the U21s.
“Being a captain is something that has always been a big driving force of mine and something I’ve always wanted to do.
“So I’m lucky that I’ve been given the privilege of doing it and I can’t wait to take the armband.
“I think with or without the armband, I’m always trying to lead the team and be a good communicator to try and lead by example,” he continued.
Ward-Prowse takes the captains armband after former skipper Jack Butland was promoted to the senior set-up.
And with the likes of former Southampton teammates Nathaniel Clyne and Luke Shaw as well as John Stones and Harry Kane making the step up, the midfielder hopes to follow in their footsteps.
“Every boy’s dream is it play for England and to reach the senior team would be great,” he said.
“If I keep performing well for country and club hopefully I will be recognised for the first team.
“If I do the job right here the first team will come calling. It is important not to put a time frame on it but focus on the job in hand.
“Last year I saw a few of the lads push into the first team and that is a real good sign for us as players that there is a pathway for good players to get into the team.”
“To get the honour of the armband is a great privilege to me and is something I will cherish.”
With the first Under-21 Euro qualifier approaching against Norway in Drammen next Monday, Ward-Prowse says the immediate focus of Southgate’s new look squad has to be the qualifying campaign, which starts after tonight’s
warm-up game against USA Under-23’s.
“We didn’t perform when it mattered (in the summer), but from these tournament experiences we can all take a good learning curve from it,” he said.
“But I’m looking forward to the next two years. We’ve got a new squad together and having seen the first few days of training, there’s a lot of quality coming through.
“It’s a really good mix, we’ve got a lot of different qualities all over the pitch and I’m ready to be a part of this team and it’s going be an exciting journey over the next two years to get to Poland,” he added.