James Ward-Prowse determined to make England’s World Cup squad after missing out on Euro 2020

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

James Ward-Prowse says he is being spurred on by the disappointment of just missing out on England’s run to the final of the European Championships as he targets a place in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad.

When fit, Ward-Prowse was a regular feature of Southgate’s squads during the 2020/21 season and was named in the England boss’ provisional party for last summer’s Euros but was one of those axed when the group was narrowed down to a final 26 on the eve of the tournament.

The Southampton man has enjoyed perhaps his best ever season at club level, reaching double figures for goals in the Premier League for the first time, and is expected to get a chance to impress when England host Italy at Molineux in the Nations League on Saturday.

The Three Lions have just four matches left before their World Cup opener against Iran on November 21 and Ward-Prowse is desperate to stake his claim to be in Qatar.

“Obviously, having missed out on the European Championship squad, that was a big hurdle for me that I had to overcome but I see this as a new opportunity for me now, a new challenge and that’s given me a bit more of an incentive ahead of the World Cup announcement,” he said. “I want to be there and I want to be part of this fantastic group and hopefully replicate the success we had [at Euro 2020].

“I didn’t look at it as a bad situation. I was able to come away and, in a small way, help the team prepare for a major tournament. Any opportunity to be around this group that are on a successful trajectory is a great opportunity to have. Of course, it was disappointing but I’m using everything I can to make sure I’m not in that situation again and I can help on the pitch.

“These things happen in sport, in life, you have good moments and bad moments. It was an opportunity to reflect and learn a lot to make sure that hopefully the same doesn’t happen again. But that’s down to me and my performances to make sure I perform when needed.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Those pushing the case for Ward-Prowse’s inclusion in Southgate’s Euro 2020 squad focused heavily on his renowned dead-ball ability, given the way England had relied on set-pieces during their run to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The threat was not quite so prevalent last summer, however, with headers from Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson in the 4-0 thrashing of Ukraine the only goals England scored from corners or free-kicks.

“We’ve got lots of players in the squad who can deliver world class set-pieces,” Ward-Prowse added. “Having watched the last couple of major tournaments, they’ve been a big weapon for us and have given us a lot of success.

“That’s probably one of my strongest assets and we’ve seen in major tournaments they can make a difference so it’s a good weapon to have.”

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