24 goals, 33 assists – Why Southampton’s new deal for 25-year-old star is a no-brainer

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Why Southampton have struck gold with a new deal for James Ward-Prowse

According to Sky Sports, Southampton have secured the long-term future of their captain James Ward-Prowse with a new five-year deal. The 25-year-old’s new contract means that he is now officially tied down to St.Mary’s until at least 2025.

Ward-Prowse started each of Southampton’s 38 league games last season, playing every minute of the Saints’ Premier League campaign as Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side finished 11th in the standings. 

Profile 

Born in Portsmouth, James Ward-Prowse joined Southampton’s youth system as an eight-year-old kid back in 2003 and gradually rose through the ranks before making his first-team debut during the 2011-12 season.

FPL rising stars: James Ward-Prowse
James Ward-Prowse has signed a new 5-year deal with Southampton (Getty Images)

The 25-year-old eventually established himself as a regular fixture for the Saints following their promotion to the Premier League. He has gone from strength to strength over the past eight seasons. Ward-Prowse has accumulated a staggering 278 appearances for the Saints across all competitions, registering 24 goals and 33 assists in the process.

The central midfielder captained England U-21s to a triumphant campaign at the 2016 Toulon Tournament before making his senior debut for the Three Lions in 2017. Ward-Prowse earned a recall to the national team in 2019 and made his first competitive appearance in a Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro.

Ward-Prowse had an incredible 2019-20 season

James Ward-Prowse started each of Southampton’s 38 games in the 2019-20 PL, playing more minutes than any of his last seven seasons in the English top-flight.

While Danny Ings stole much of the limelight with his 22-goal haul in the Premier League last term, Ward-Prowse was also among the key contributors for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side, chipping in with 5 goals and 3 assists.

GW23 Differentials: James Ward-Prowse
Ward-Prowse has made 278 appearances for Southampton across all competitions (Getty Images)

As per the statistics presented by Sky Sports, the Saints graduate ranked 1st among all PL stars in terms of total distance covered (442.1 km) and 2nd in the division in terms of possession won in the defensive third (146). He also ranked second in terms of the number of passes completed into opposition half (306) and 10th in terms of possession won in all areas (249). 

Hence, it’s clear from those numbers that Ward-Prowse contributed massively with his tireless work-related and ability to win possession back for his team, besides chipping in with 8 direct goal contributions. 

Why he deserved a new deal

Since the appointment of Hasenhuttl, Southampton have made a genuine attempt to build a strong platform for renewed success with the acquisition of several exciting young talents in the transfer window.

The Saints continued with their youthful recruitment policy this summer with deals for defensive pair Kyle Walker-Peters and Mohammed Salisu. In addition to that, they have also sanctioned the departure of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to Tottenham.

Hojbjerg was one of Southampton’s standout performers over the past two seasons, meaning his exit comes as a big blow to the Saints. Indeed, a new signing will definitely be required to fill the void left by the Dane but Ward-Prowse’s new deal comes as a massive boost to the club’s long-term plans moving forward.

GW27 Ones to watch: James Ward-Prowse
Source: Getty Images

The 25-year-old took over the reins of Southampton’s captaincy towards the end of the previous campaign and Hasenhuttl sees him as the long-term skipper at St.Mary’s, given his commitment and passion for the club. (h/t Sky Sports)

Ward-Prowse is beginning to blossom into a top-quality central midfielder in the PL and still has his best years ahead of him. Hence, the new deal should go a long way towards helping Southampton ward off potential interest from top clubs in their prized asset.

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Verdict

From Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale to Calum Chambers, Luke Shaw and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Southampton have had a tough time holding on to their star academy graduates. However, they look determined to make up for their past mistakes with a new long-term deal for James Ward-Prowse, who seems destined for greater glory at St.Mary’s.

With 278 appearances under his belt already, the 25-year-old looks well on course to end his career as a cult hero at Southampton if he stays put at the club.