Southampton ace James Ward-Prowse shares potentially career-defining Ralph Hasenhuttl conversation

Southampton Manager \ head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl and James Ward-Prowse of Southampton at full time of the Premier League match between Leicester City and Southampton FC at The King Power...

The Saints midfielder says a conversation the likes of which he had never had before with a manager "kickstarted things" for him.

Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse in action during the Premier League match between Southampton and Cardiff City at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton on Saturday 9th February 2019.

Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse has spoken of how one particular conversation with Ralph Hasenhuttl flicked a switch in his head which went on to foster a development in his style of play.

The 24-year-old has already amassed 222 senior appearances for the Saints, with 15 goals and 28 assists under his belt (Transfermarkt), which would suggest at first glance that there was nothing to fix.

 

This season, however, Ward-Prowse seldom featured under former manager Mark Hughes but, since the arrival of the former RB Leipzig head coach at St Mary's, he has worked his way back into first-team contention and has played the full 90 minutes in the team's last seven Premier League fixtures (Transfermarkt).

The Southampton academy graduate also scored in three consecutive games against Leicester City, Everton and Crystal Palace, while in the latter match, he had a clash with Wilfried Zaha in the build-up to the Eagles ace getting sent off for sarcastically applauding a booking (The Guardian).

Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace battles for possession with James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond of Southampton during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Crystal Palace at...

Speaking with the official club website in a feature interview published this week, Ward-Prowse spoke of how Hasenhuttl was the first manager he had played under who actually had invidual meetings with each player and elaborated on the defining conversation, which centred around being more physical and tenacious.

"It was the first time I’ve ever had a manager who’s come in and had individual meetings with every player," he said. "In my meeting, he showed me exactly what he needed from me in terms of being a central midfield player - being more aggressive and winning more tackles, which is what I’ve tried to do.

"It’s obviously helped that I’m playing in my natural position, but that conversation kickstarted things and I immediately gained respect for him... he’s made me aware of a few things I needed to change in order to kick on to the next level and fulfil what I believe I can achieve."

Southampton Manager \ head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl and James Ward-Prowse of Southampton at full time of the Premier League match between Leicester City and Southampton FC at The King Power...

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