Talk over James Ward-Prowse future ‘irrelevant’, says Saints boss Ruben Selles
Ruben Selles believes talk over the future of Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse is “irrelevant” until the end of the season but hopes to help the midfielder get back into the England fold.
Ward-Prowse was left out of Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad on Thursday, having also missed out on a World Cup place, and has only made 11 appearances for his country since his debut in 2017.
While Ward-Prowse has more than three years left to run on his current deal, speculation over his future continues and will only increase should Southampton suffer relegation.
But Selles said: “I think any conversation like that is irrelevant until the end of the season and we will take it once we will stay in the Premier League.
“We cannot control if Gareth will call him for the national team or not. We can control what we put in every day.
“For me, Prowsey is our captain and has been a model (of consistency) on the pitch. For me he always needs to be there, but I am not the one making the (England) list.
“I respect their job. We will take care of Prowsey and we will try to do our job even better for him to be there in the future. I don’t see also that he takes it internally as a problem.
“He just continues working hard and doing his job for this club, which is huge. We will take it and I hope he will be there in the future.”
Ward-Prowse’s role will be key for Southampton on Saturday when they try to move off the bottom of the Premier League with a win over Tottenham.
Spurs have regularly been linked with the Saints midfielder, but the north London club have a situation of their own to negotiate regarding striker Harry Kane, whose current deal expires in 2024.
Kane has scored in six of his last seven visits to St Mary’s and Selles is familiar with his goalscoring prowess after witnessing him up close during the 2015-16 Europa League campaign when assistant at Qarabag.
“We played Tottenham with Qarabag in the Europa League in 2015,” he said.
“Then Harry Kane scored in their 1-0 win in Baku in a corner at the first post.
“So, I have been against Harry Kane a couple of times and the game at the old stadium, White Hart Lane.
“I really don’t have anything to add about what Harry Kane is – his career, his numbers and his personality as captain in the national team speak about it.”
Southampton will try to keep Kane quiet this weekend but also address their goalscoring issues.
No forward has scored for Saints in the league since the season resumed and they have found the net only three times in the last six matches.
Selles added: “I know people are worried about that, but I don’t think our approach is a defensive approach at all.
“Right now we’re in a situation where it’s not about who scores the goals, it’s about actually scoring the goals.
“If we sound like we have a defensive approach then maybe I made a mistake trying to send that message because it’s not like that.”
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