James Ward Biography & Facts
James Michael Edward Ward-Prowse (born 1 November 1994) is an English professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Premier League club Southampton and the England national team.
Originally a member of Southampton's youth teams, Ward-Prowse made his first-team debut for the club in October 2011, and signed his first professional contract in May 2012. He became a regular for Southampton, and has been playing his entire professional career with them ever since, being appointed as captain in June 2020. In January 2021, he played his 300th game for the club.
He has represented England at under-17, under-19 and under-20 levels and earned 31 caps and scored 6 goals at under-21 level, also serving as captain. He made his senior international debut in March 2017 in a 1–0 away defeat to then World champions Germany.
Early and personal life
Ward-Prowse was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire and is the son of John Ward-Prowse, a barrister. Although his family are Portsmouth supporters, Ward-Prowse joined their rivals Southampton at the age of eight.Ward-Prowse and his wife, Olivia, have one son named Oscar born in 2018.
After playing locally for East Lodge from the age of 6, Ward-Prowse joined the Southampton Academy at the age of eight, later featuring in every match for the under-18 team in the 2010–11 season before becoming a full-time scholar in 2011. While at the Southampton academy, he secretly trained with non-league Havant & Waterlooville in order to "toughen" himself.
Ward-Prowse was first called up to the Southampton first team in October 2011, when he made his debut at the age of 16 in the League Cup against Crystal Palace. In his second starting appearance for the team, Ward-Prowse scored Southampton's first goal in a 2–1 win over Coventry City to help his side through to the fourth round of the FA Cup. Following the club's promotion to the top flight in May 2012, Ward-Prowse was one of four youth players offered a professional contract for their return to the Premier League, along with Jack Stephens, Luke Shaw, and Calum Chambers.Ward-Prowse made his Premier League debut for Southampton on the opening day of the 2012–13 season, playing the first 65 minutes of a 3–2 loss against reigning champions Manchester City. After the match, his performance was described by manager Nigel Adkins as "outstanding". After a substitute appearance against Wigan Athletic, the 17-year-old returned to the starting line-up for the third match of the campaign against Manchester United, continuing to draw praise from commentators. In November, shortly after his 18th birthday, Ward-Prowse signed a five-year contract with Southampton, amidst speculation that he might leave the club in the near future.In a home match against Queens Park Rangers in March 2013, Ward-Prowse was involved in a late attack which could have saved the hosts a point when he provided a cross to be headed at goal by centre-back Maya Yoshida, only for substitute goalkeeper Robert Green to save and secure the win for the visitors. He later provided the assist for a Jason Puncheon equaliser in the penultimate match of the season against fellow strugglers Sunderland on 12 May, picking up play from strikers Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert to cross for Puncheon to secure an important point for Southampton in the 75th minute of play.Despite making 15 league appearances for his club throughout the season, many of these came as a substitute, and as a result it was reported at the end of the season that Ward-Prowse was "not content sitting on the bench". The midfielder did, however, win the Scholar of the Season accolade at the Southampton club awards ceremony in May, beating academy teammates Luke Shaw and Dominic Gape to the title.At the beginning of the 2013–14 season, Ward-Prowse came into favour with manager Mauricio Pochettino to start the first match of the season against West Bromwich Albion, almost scoring in one of the few attacking moves of an otherwise uneventful encounter which ended 1–0 to Southampton thanks to a last-minute penalty from Lambert. The midfielder also played the full 90 minutes of the following match against Sunderland, registering an assist with a free kick in the 88th minute which was headed in for a late equaliser by centre-back José Fonte.Ward-Prowse was an ever-present at the start of the 2014–15 season, until on 20 September, when he fractured his foot in a win over Swansea City. He was subsequently ruled out for 10 weeks.
He signed a new five-and-a-half-year contract in January 2015. On 11 April, he scored his first Premier League goal, opening the scoring in a 2–0 win against Hull City with a penalty kick. He was given a straight red card on 2 May for a foul on Sunderland's Jermain Defoe, conceding a penalty from which Jordi Gómez scored the winning goal.On 3 October 2015, Ward-Prowse was a half-time substitute for Oriol Romeu in a 3–1 win at reigning champions Chelsea. This was his 100th Southampton appearance, making him the fourth-youngest player to reach that figure.Ward-Prowse was praised by manager Ronald Koeman after scoring two goals in a 3–0 home win against West Bromwich Albion on 16 January 2016: a free kick and a penalty. He amassed 39 appearances and scored twice during the 2015–16 season. On 13 May 2016, he signed a new six-year contract, keeping him at the club until 2022.Ward-Prowse scored his first goal of the 2016–17 season on 25 September with an injury-time strike to seal a 3–0 away win over West Ham United. He doubled his tally on 22 January 2017, opening the scoring in a 3–0 home victory over reigning Premier League champions Leicester City as Southampton ended a run of four successive league defeats.He made his 200th appearance in all competitions for Southampton on 7 April 2018.In June 2020, Ward-Prowse replaced Pierre-Emile Højbjerg as Southampton captain, initially until the end of the 2019–20 season, after the Dane publicly expressed a desire to leave the club. On 17 August 2020, Ward-Prowse signed a new contract until June 2025.On 26 January 2021, Ward-Prowse played his 300th Southampton game, assisting a goal by Stuart Armstrong in a 3–1 home defeat by Arsenal. After Southampton rejected a reported offer from Aston Villa of £25 million for Ward-Prowse, he signed a new five-year contract on 19 August 2021.On 2 October 2021, Ward-Prowse scored a penalty in Southampton’s 3–1 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, but he also got a red card after Martin Atkinson went to the VAR monitor to review a late challenge he made on Jorginho.On 15 January 2022, Ward-Prowse scored a free-kick goal in Southampton's 3–1 loss to Wolves at Molineux Stadium. The goal placed him joint second in the list of most free-kick goals in Premier League history (12), only behind David Beckham (18). He was then described by Pep Guardiola as the greatest free-kick taker in the world.... Discover the James Ward popular books. Find the top 100 most popular James Ward books.