England’s uncapped midfielder James Ward-Prowse has welcomed manager Gareth Southgate’s powerful message ahead of this week’s internationals about how the national team could become the “best in the world”.
The 22-year-old Ward-Prowse, handed his first call up to the senior squad, was impressed on Monday with Southgate, who was named permanent England manager in November after an interim spell in charge following the departure of Sam Allardyce.
The former international defender outlined his ambitions for England at a team meeting where he played a video of his infamous penalty miss against Germany in the 1996 European Championship semi-final shootout defeat at Wembley.
“It was a very powerful message,” Southampton’s Ward-Prowse, who has played under Southgate at under-21 level, told British media.
“It is one the under-21s have received before (from Southgate) to highlight the highs and lows of a career, and the ambitions that he sees for us.
“We want to establish ourselves as a top team in the world, so it is all about plugging away at those goals and making sure that what we do now stands us in good stead for when we reach major tournaments.”
England travel to Dortmund for a friendly against Germany on Wednesday before facing Lithuania in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley four days later.