Ruben Selles has labelled talk of Tottenham signing Southampton star James Ward-Prowse ‘irrelevant’ and feels the midfielder should be in the England squad.
Ward-Prowse, 28, has spent his entire professional career with Saints after coming up through the club’s youth system. The Portsmouth-born ace made his senior debut as a 16-year-old in October 2011. And, having dipped his toe in the water with 19 outings during 2012-13, he became a permanent fixture from the next season.
Ward-Prowse has now made 333 Premier League appearances, scoring 47 goals. On Saturday, he netted a penalty to equalise against Tottenham in a 3-3 draw.
The talented schemer has scored 17 of his goals direct from free-kicks and is now just one shy of David Beckham’s all-time Premier League record.
Unsurprisingly, a few clubs have been linked with the England international. Football Insider recently named Tottenham as a possible suitor, with Antonio Conte said to be an admirer of the player.
And Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp has suggested that he possesses all the qualities to succeed at Spurs.
The north Londoners’ interest may well depend on who is in charge, with Antonio Conte’s position under threat.
However, Selles is unconcerned with all the talk and will park it until the off-season.
“I think any conversation like that is irrelevant until the end of the season and we will take it once we will stay in the Premier League,” he told reporters.
Ward-Prowse England omission baffles Selles
Selles has been in charge of Southampton since February 12 and been handed the reins until season’s end.
It is his second spell in charge this term, with a one-match stint at the helm following the sacking of Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Nathan Jones’ departure saw the club turn to him once more and he faces a tough task to keep them in the Premier League.
Ward-Prowse was not included in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the upcoming internationals.
Indeed, he has earned just 11 caps since making his debut in 2017. And Selles confessed that he does not understand why the club skipper will not be with the Three Lions next week.
“We cannot control if Gareth will call him for the national team or not. We can control what we put in every day,” he added.
“For me, Prowsey is our captain and has been a model (of consistency) on the pitch. For me he always needs to be there, but I am not the one making the (England) list.
“I respect their job. We will take care of Prowsey and we will try to do our job even better for him to be there in the future. I don’t see also that he takes it internally as a problem.”
Relegation scrap key to keeping midfielder
Keeping the St Mary’s outfit in the top flight will be vital to Ward-Prowse’s future.
They began the weekend at the bottom of the table. However, there were just five points separating the bottom nine clubs and nobody has been cut adrift.
Tottenham are battling at the other end of the standings. They have lacked consistency at times and there are likely to be changes at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium over the summer.
Whether Ward-Prowse wears white next term only time will tell. But Selles would love him to stay and prove that he is good enough to play for England.
“He just continues working hard and doing his job for this club, which is huge,” he continued. “We will take it and I hope he will be there in the future.”