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Hasenhuttl tribute to Ward-Prowse ahead of 200th Premier League start

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JAMES Ward-Prowse is set to make his 200th start in the Premier League for Saints as Ralph Hasenhuttl pays tribute to his skipper.

The 27-year-old midfielder has made 279 appearances in the Premier League, scoring 32 goals in that time while maturing from academy product to club captain.

Ward-Prowse played every minute of Hasenhuttl’s first two seasons as Saints manager, although that concurrent run was ended after he received a red card at Chelsea in October.

But to amass the volume of minutes that he has, whilst also making nine appearances for his country since his England debut in 2017, is no easy achievement.

Hasenhuttl has paid tribute to the star, ahead of Saints’ visit to Liverpool on Saturday.

He said: “Firstly, congrats, at his age 200 is quite massive I must say.

“We had a building up relationship I think, when I came here it took a while until he was part of the first XI.

“The things I demanded of him I spoke of very clearly I think and he also showed it relatively quick, what we expected of him.

“The rest of the story you know, you have seen the progress he has made for the last three years now.”

Although now 27, Ward-Prowse probably played his best football for Saints in the recent 2020-21 campaign – despite the team struggling.

He provided eight goals and eight assists to help the team survive, as well as cutting himself further a reputation as a set-piece specialist – the direct free-kicks, at least.

His form nearly afforded him a place at the European Championships in Gareth Southgate’s squad, but he was just pipped to the post leaving him to target next year’s winter World Cup in Qatar.

Hasenhuttl adds that he believes Ward-Prowse can continue to become a better player.

He said: “Finally, he is not at the end of his development I don’t think.

“What I like about this player is that when you show him something, criticise him for something, he immediately is able to fix it, to improve this part.

“This is very good behaviour for a player I think, he is always open minded, always willing to learn and this is never a disadvantage for your development when you have this character.”

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