James Ward-Prowse admits that summer was tough to cope with

Southampton lost a number of players over the summer, but have replaced them admirably.

Southampton's James Ward-Prowse has admitted to the Daily Echo that last summer was a tough one for the club.

The Saints had to deal with a number of their key assets leaving - with the likes of Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Luke Shaw and Rickie Lambert all opting to join new teams. 

At the time it appeared that it could negatively impact on Southampton's season, but the team seem to have got stronger in their absence. 

This was not as easy as the South Coast club have made it seem though, and Ward-Prowse admits that it was hard to cope with all the departures.

"Obviously, [it was] a difficult summer that the club had – everyone stuck with us, all the fans were very good as well, and I think it’s proven we’ve got great confidence out on the pitch and that’s why we are where we are," he said. 

Southampton are currently in third place in the Premier League table and their form has been hugely impressive, considering the level of overhaul they had to put up with at the start of the campaign. 

The Saints have changed almost the entirety of the core of the group that made them such a success last term, but they have done so brilliantly and now are pushing towards the top-four. 

One of the reasons for this has been the quality of their youth system, and Ward-Prowse is another example of the quality that they have coming through. 

Southampton's ability to bring through players from their own academy limited their need to spend big on foreign imports and their stability makes them the envy of almost every other club in the country. 

Ward-Prowse looks the pick of the current crop, too. A wonderfully gifted set-piece taker, he also has great technical ability and he will be key to their chances of claiming a Champions League spot in May. 

The attacking midfielder has already accumulated 17 appearances this campaign, despite injury, and his creativity will be imperative as Southampton look to carve open opposition sides, who set up defensively against them now they know the threat Ronald Koeman's side pose. 

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