Kevin Phillips has offered his thoughts on James Ward-Prowse’s decision to stay at Southampton.
Former Premier League striker Kevin Phillips has praised James Ward-Prowse for deciding to reject Aston Villa and stay with Southampton.
The Saints reportedly rejected a £25m offer for the midfielder before he put pen to paper on a long-term contract extension, with Phillips believing that Ward-Prowse’s decision shows how much he loves the club.
“You have to give credit to the player. We aren’t privy to what goes on in the background in terms of agents and whatever but there will have been conversations.
“He’s committed to Southampton and that’s brilliant, he clearly loves the club.
“He’s highly thought of and they will have made it known how much he’s valued at St Mary’s.
“Turning down Villa is still a big call. With the signings Villa have made, he might have thought he could go and replace Grealish.”
Southampton fans will surely be delighted with these comments from Phillips. They what Ward-Prowse’s decision to extend his contract at St. Mary’s meant, as he proved his loyalty to the club by putting pen to paper and rejecting the chance to sign for Dean Smith’s side.
Instead of pursuing a big-money move and handing in a transfer request, Ward-Prowse got his head down and ignored the speculation. He then agreed a contract extension to secure his future at Southampton, suggesting that he is happy to stay for the long-term, which will leave supporters buzzing as he is a crucial player for Ralph Hasenhuttl.
The 26-year-old produced eight goals and seven assists from midfield last season as he played every single minute in the Premier League. He has started the current campaign with one goal in four games and an average WhoScored rating of 6.98 – third overall in the squad.
At the end of last season, Saints head coach Hasenhuttl lauded the midfield as “outstanding”. The Austrian told the Daily Echo: “It’s not surprising for me, a player who played every minute this season is unbelievable.
“His physicality and his performances are outstanding. That’s our captain on the pitch and he is on the way that he is a very important player for this club for the long-term, I think.”
These quotes from Hasenhuttl and his statistics last term and at the start of this season highlight the £75k-per-week gem’s importance to Southampton.