LONDON: Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse is to stay at St Mary’s after signing a new five-and-a-half-year deal, the English Premiership club announced Friday.
Born in Portsmouth, the home of Southampton’s bitter south coast rivals, the 20-year-old has been on Saints’ books since the age of eight and has made 77 first-team appearances in all competitions for the club since his senior debut in October 2011.
Now the England-Under 21 international is set to stay at Southampton, currently an impressive third in English football’s top flight, until 2020 at least.
“The club is in a fantastic position and ever since I joined the club at a young age I knew it was the right place to be,” Ward-Prowse told Southampton’s YouTube channel.
“I fell in love with the place straight away,” he added.
“I’ve been on a fantastic journey, the club has too, and it’s great to extend my stay.
I’m really excited for the next few years.”
Ward-Prowse has made 17 appearances for Southampton so far this season, despite being sidelined for a large part of the campaign with a broken foot.
However, he has featured in all 11 matches since returning last month and Saints manager Ronald Koeman was delighted by Ward-Prowse’s decision to extend his contract.
“He’s one of the young players who is developing himself in a very good way.
He will be a great player,” Koeman said.
“It’s always good news, I’m happy that he would like to stay with us.
It’s a good signal to the rest of the players,” the former Netherlands defender added.
“He’s one of the examples for the academy, to the confidence of the young players.
“‘Prowsey’ developed in the academy and now he’s one of the young players who plays for the first team.
“He’s a good professional, always serious in his training, in his discipline, he’s a big example for all young players.”