Vladimir Coufal backs West Ham stars Jarrod Bowen and James Ward-Prowse for England squad

Vladimir Coufal has backed team-mates Jarrod Bowen and James Ward-Prowse to earn England recalls this week, admitting he was shocked the West Ham pair were snubbed by Gareth Southgate last month.

Southgate is set to announce his squad for the Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy and friendly meeting with Australia later this week, with Bowen and Ward-Prowse among those hoping that their early season form is enough to be involved.

Bowen took his tally for the season to five goals in seven Premier League matches with the opener in Saturday’s comfortable 2-0 victory over Sheffield United, while Ward-Prowse has enjoyed a superb start to life in east London since his £30million move from boyhood club Southampton in the summer.

The midfielder has been on the fringes of Southgate’s squad throughout much of his tenure, while Bowen has not featured since winning his maiden call-up for the run of Nations League games in the summer of 2022, with both missing out on last month’s international break despite strong starts to the new campaign.

“I was really surprised they weren’t there last time,” full-back Coufal said. “I hope for both of them. They absolutely deserve it. The manager sees it but obviously reaching the squad is very difficult because of the number of players with amazing ability. But these two deserve to be there.”

Hammers boss David Moyes had talked up Ward-Prowse’s impact on the rest of his squad in the build-up to Saturday’s meeting with the Blades, in particular with regards to his crossing ability.

Coufal appears one of the prime beneficiaries, his assist for Bowen’s goal making it three assists in as many League matches, while the winger’s form means a partnership down the right-flank that excelled in the early part of Moyes’ second spell at the London Stadium is delivering the goods once more.

Flying: Bowen and Ward-Prowse have enjoyed brilliant starts to the season (Getty Images)
Flying: Bowen and Ward-Prowse have enjoyed brilliant starts to the season (Getty Images)

“Everybody sees it and everybody knows it because [Ward-Prowse] is a very experienced player,” the Czech international added. “His ability to put the ball exactly to the spot where he wants it is amazing. We are really happy he is here.

“I’m very pleased for [Bowen] because he works very hard for me defensively and I’m trying to help him in scoring goals.

“Our connection is almost three years of playing together. It’s really good. We know what to expect from each other.”