James Ward-Prowse has been an ever-present figure for Southampton since manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.
The Saints academy product became the club’s interim captain during the 2019-20 season in June last year after Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was all set to leave Southampton for Tottenham Hotspur in the next transfer window.
After impressing Hasenhuttl, Ward-Prowse then became the full-time Saints captain and he has continued to lead by example through the club’s peaks and troughs in this up-and-down 2020-21 Premier League campaign.
“He reacts how I expect a captain to react,” Hasenhuttl said of Ward-Prowse according to the Daily Echo. “This is not so much off the pitch, much more on the pitch because that is where you win games, not off the pitch.
“You have to walk out there and always be the role model of what we are standing for. When you see him running and him fighting for everything in every game then this is what a captain should do.
“Not speaking in the dressing room or telling people how it works, but showing it on the pitch how it works. For me, this is how a captain should be.”
One sign of Ward-Prowse’s professionalism is his fitness. The England international has appeared in 98 consecutive games for Southampton across all competitions and has not played the full match on only two occasions during that run.
Given Saints’ continuing injury struggles, Hasenhuttl is happy with the example led by the midfielder.
“He lives very professional, he works very professional, he eats quite professional and I think this complete package leads you to playing every minute so far.”
Saints are set to play AFC Bournemouth in an Emirates FA Cup quarter final fixture this weekend and the captain will be hoping to make it 99 appearances in a row for the club.