It’s been a disappointing 2018/19 for Southampton Academy graduate James Ward-Prowse as his early promise has stalled and he’s found himself in and out of the first team setup.
With Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg seeing red in the last match, he’s suspended for Wednesday’s trip to Chelsea and manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has challenged JWP to really step up now, improve his game and make a mark in his absence.
Speaking to Sky Sports during the build up to our first game of 2019, the Austrian said that he’d sat the 24-year-old down to talk about his strengths but also importantly, his weaknesses, and now it’s over to him to take the chance that presents itself.
“It can be an opportunity, absolutely. Because he’s a flexible player – he can play a lot of positions in the game. So I’m looking forward – he’s now got a big opportunity for us. I had a face-to-face meeting with him and told him what I think are his strengths and what are his weaknesses. I think sometimes he wasn’t hard enough and not aggressive enough in winning the ball and getting into duels and I think we saw against City a step forward in this manner.”
Hasenhuttl talked up his versatility on the pitch, but to truly regain his early promise and kick on, Prowsy needs to make one spot his own and begin to really express his creativity once more – whilst improving his overall game so he’s not a passenger in battles.
I think Hasenhuttl’s summation of his game is pretty spot on but plenty would love to see him get back on track.