In a recent interview with Football Insider, former Premier League defender Alan Hutton was left impressed by Aston Villa‘s interest in Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse this summer. Hutton said,
“I think he’d have to play alongside John McGinn for me.
“Don’t get me wrong, Douglas Luiz has been fantastic. You’ve got Nakamba there, Ramsey breaking through, there are options.
“But I think he’d (Ward-Prowse) have to play. I mean he’s played over 300 games for Southampton, he’s their captain. We know what his dead-ball ability’s like. We obviously saw it at Villa Park last season, he was incredible.
“To bring someone in of that standard, it does show you where Aston Villa are trying to go. I think he would command a starting place for me, he’s that good. He was quite unfortunate to miss out on the England squad.
“The flipside to that I think it would be difficult to get him out of Southampton. They won’t want to sell their top assets for cheap.
“If they could get hold of him, I’d really be looking forward to next season. They would push for those European places.”
Ward-Prowse’s Impressive Season In English Football
Ward-Prowse had another solid season at the St. Mary’s Stadium as he put in a run of influential performances at the centre of Ralph Hasenhüttl’s backline. The English midfield ace found the back of the net on nine occasions and secured seven assists in 44 matches for the Saints last season across all competitions.
The Portsmouth-born talent managed to make a positive impact in both halves as he averaged 2.0 tackles, 1.1 interceptions, 1.4 clearances, 1.1 shots, 1.6 key passes and 1.4 crosses per game in the previous Premier League campaign. The 26-year-old even distributed the ball with a lot of conviction based on his pass success rate of 86.4% in the English first division (stats via whoscored).
Will Recruiting Ward-Prowse Be A Good Move For The Villans?
Ward-Prowse has a wide range of passes in his locker and can whip in some pin-point crosses into the danger area. He is a specialist from dead-ball situations and has also got the vision to cut open the opposition defence with a decisive pass in the attacking third. He can also provide adequate protection for his teammates at the back by disrupting the opponent’s flow in the game at the centre of the park.
At 26, Ward-Prowse is playing at his peak right now and would enhance the quality of Dean Smith’s midfield department considerably if the English head coach can bring him to Villa Park in this off-season. The Southampton captain is a natural leader and could serve as an upgrade over Douglas Luiz who has struggled to find consistency with his performances for the Villans last season.
With all things considered, signing Ward-Prowse will be a decent move for the West Midlands outfit as he could help the Villans maintain their push for a top-six place in the Premier League next season. Plus, an experienced manager like Smith could be the perfect man to unlock the best out of Ward-Prowse at Villa Park in the years to come.