The 18 year-old put pen-to-paper on his new deal at St Mary’s this evening to extend his commitment to the Club until the summer of 2017.
As one of four youngsters promoted into the First Team this summer, the midfielder has been named on the teamsheet for every Saints game so far this season and has now been rewarded with an improved deal.
And, having been a part of the squad that recorded a 3-1 win at Queens Park Rangers at the weekend, Ward-Prowse expressed his happiness at today’s extra bit of good news.
“I’m absolutely delighted,” he told Saints Player
shortly after finalising terms on his new contract.
“It was nice that we got the win on Saturday, and it’s nice to put pen-to-paper. I can kick on from here.
“It’s been an absolute whirlwind to go from playing under-18 football against lower-league teams to playing against the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United.
“That’s been my dream since I was a young kid, so to get to that stage is fantastic.
“My short-term aim now is to get back into the team. There’s a lot of competition for places now Corky (Jack Cork) is back because he’s done well in the last two games.”
First Team Manager Nigel Adkins praised Ward-Prowse for how he has fared since being promoted into the senior squad, and voiced his happiness at seeing the player sign a new deal.
“As one of the youngsters coming through the system, James has done ever-so-well since he stepped up to the First Team during pre-season,” said the gaffer.
“He started the first game of the season and played there on merit [because] he works hard in training.
“He’s a great lad in respect of being a role model for the younger players, and he works very hard at his game every single day.
“We’re delighted that we’ve got a hungry and ambitious young man who has now committed his longer-term future to the Football Club.”
His new contract is the latest achievement in what has been a tremendous year for Ward-Prowse.
Having made his debut for the Club as a 16 year-old in a League Cup game at Crystal Palace last October, he marked his second appearance with the equalising goal in a 2-1 FA Cup third-round win over Coventry City.
Following the Saints’ promotion to the Barclays Premier League in the summer, Ward-Prowse was one of four youngsters to be promoted to the First Team along with Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers and Jack Stephens.
All four featured in the Markus Liebherr Memorial Cup games against Anderlecht and Arsenal, and were subsequently named in the travelling party for the Club’s training camp in the French lakeside resort of Évian-les-Bains.
Of the entire Saints squad, Ward-Prowse had the most on-pitch involvement of those who travelled to the continent having featured for the entirety of the win over Étoile Carouge plus the first half of the game against Évian Thonon-Gaillard three days later.
The midfielder also started friendlies against Ajax, Bristol City and Udinese and appeared as a substitute against Wolves as he continued to make an impression at first-team level.
James’s pre-season performances earned him a starting place for the Club’s first top-flight game in more than seven years as he lined up for the dramatic 3-2 defeat at Manchester City in August.
Overall, Ward-Prowse has been named on the teamsheet for all 15 games Saints have played this season. He has started seven times and appeared as a substitute on a further three occasions.
The youngster has also experienced international recognition since the start of the 2012-13 campaign.
Having been capped by England seven times at Under-17 level in 2010-2011, Ward-Prowse was called up by the Under-19s for the first time earlier this season.