James Ward-Prowse reveals the impact of Virgil van Dijk joining Southampton

James Ward-Prowse reveals the impact of Virgil van Dijk joining Southampton Transfers

Former England midfielder James Ward-Prowse was born in Portsmouth, grew up in Southampton’s lower divisions and was promoted to the club’s first team in 2012.

In addition to his abundant athleticism, he is a dominant threat at set pieces, creating chances on goal with his accurate free kicks.

In the summer of 2023, he moved to West Ham United. Seeking a new home in London, he also played well at the Olympic Stadium, scoring seven goals and providing 12 assists in 52 games last season. He has also made 11 appearances for England.

The 29-year-old looked back to the time when Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk, now a mainstay of the final line at Liverpool, joined the club and revealed that he was disheartened by the centre-back, who combines all abilities at a high level.

“It’s depressing! When Virgil got to Southampton, you’d be in the gym after lunch, doing your leg weights, trying to get quicker, trying to get stronger – but he just had everything. He’d just be walking to his car with his washbag [and say], ‘See ya lads!’”

“You’re there grafting away, trying to improve yourself, but he just had it all. [Naturally] quick, strong, and when he came to the club, he tried to take a few free-kicks as well, so I thought, ‘Ooh, I’ve got a bit of competition here!’”

“He’s just so calm and composed. He never looks rushed. Even when he’s one-on-one with a player, he’s almost giving them the line to say, ‘Go on, you’re not gonna do me here.’ That’s the quality and sort of arrogance he has, and that’s class.”

Ben Foster’s Fozcast