James Ward-Prowse backs England star Phil Foden to ‘go a long way’ in football

James Ward-Prowse has backed England colleague Phil Foden to go a “long, long way” after his starring role in the World Cup qualifying victory in Andorra.

Foden ran the show against the Group I minnows, twice picking out fine passes which led to Ben Chilwell and Bukayo Saka scoring on the way to a 5-0 win.

Tammy Abraham added a third before Ward-Prowse tucked home the rebound after his penalty was saved and Jack Grealish completed the rout with his first England goal.

James Ward-Prowse saw his penalty saved against Andorra before turning home the rebound.
James Ward-Prowse saw his penalty saved against Andorra before turning home the rebound (Nick Potts/PA)

But it was the display of 21-year-old Foden which caught the eye, with Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate purring about the performance.

Southgate said it is “fabulously exciting” to consider how good the Manchester City playmaker can become and Ward-Prowse echoed those sentiments having witnessed Foden at close-quarters at the Estadi Nacional.

“I thought he was brilliant,” said the Southampton skipper.

“It was probably one of the first times I’ve played in a game with him. He’s brilliant to have on your team.

“He wants the ball all the time, You can see his natural ability with the ball. He made a few wonderful passes with his left foot, dinking it over the defensive line of Andorra.

“You can see he has an abundance of quality. He has a good head on his shoulders as well. He is going to go a long, long way in the game for sure.”

Ward-Prowse started in a deeper role with Foden and Jesse Lingard ahead of him as part of a three-man midfield.

A ninth senior cap came despite Ward-Prowse having initially missed out on Southgate’s squad before being called up as a replacement for the injured Kalvin Phillips.

“Of course you want to be in the squad straight away,” he said.

“Every player wants to be in it but there is so much competition for places and so many quality players that it becomes increasingly difficult – but injuries happen and I am grateful to be a part of the squad again.

Ward-Prowse impressed during England's warm-up games for Euro 2020 but did not make the final squad.
Ward-Prowse impressed during England’s warm-up games for Euro 2020 but did not make the final squad (Nick Potts/PA)

“That’s all you can do. Regardless of the opposition or what circumstances you are put in it is to be there to take your chance and be ready and I feel as if I have made a positive step.”

Having been in Southgate’s initial pool for Euro 2020, Ward-Prowse missed the cut for the tournament itself and is determined to use whatever chances he gets to impress between now and the 2022 World Cup.

“I think it’s a massive incentive,” he said of the prospect of earning a place in Qatar.

“I’ve missed out once already before and it has definitely given me that hunger to be back there.

“These opportunities in an England shirt now become even more important to me and I have got to make sure that I give that everything to give myself the best chance to be there.

“It’s not just about the 11 players that start the games, it’s about the squad players, the ones that come on off the bench to make the impact and also the ones that maybe don’t play but are part of the squad.

“That’s what is refreshing about this squad. You can feel that unity that no matter who is playing in that first 11 everybody is behind each other supporting each other and you can feel that throughout the squad.

“We are all in very healthy competition with each other, we all want to be in that first 11 but realistically we know we all can’t be in there.

“It’s just a case of doing the best you can and if you can do that consistently well for your club and when you get your opportunities for England then you give yourself a good chance.”