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Home   /   James Ward-Prowse overlooked by Southgate

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With the Premier League season well underway and James Ward-Prowse having an impressive start to this campaign, it has left many fans questioning Gareth Southgate’s decision to leave the midfielder out of the squad.

The former Southampton midfielder joined West Ham United ahead of the 2023/24 Premier League season and has registered five assists and two goals in 12 games so far. He has been a key part of the Hammers’ start to the season, with his set pieces in particular causing trouble to any team he plays against.

So, the decision by the England manager to leave out Ward-Prowse has sparked controversy, especially amongst the West Ham fanbase as many feel he is being unjustly overlooked. 

“You would be amazed at how complicated it is picking a squad because all clubs are sensitive to information,” Southgate said in a press conference ahead of the latest euro 2024 qualifiers.

He has also stated several times in the past that he will continue to pick the best players available and that he does not pick players based on reputation but instead on their form.

So, with these statements in mind, the suitable course of action would be to compare Ward-Prowse’s form this season with some of the midfielders that were selected ahead of him. We’ll be analysing data and statistics like goals and assists and chances created.

The most notable player to compare the West Ham midfielder to would be the former Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, who has recently come under fire for his problematic move to Al-Ettifaq. He left Liverpool at the end of last season for £13 million in a deal that would see him earning £350,000 a week. The fact that Henderson is now playing in a league with far less quality and followed through with a controversial move to the Saudi League, considering his support for the LGBTQ+ community, it was still not enough to deter the England manager from picking him for the squad. The midfielder has registered four assists and zero goals in 12 matches, meaning despite playing in a much more competitive league James Ward-Prowse has picked up one more assist and two more goals. The Hammers’ midfielder has also created 30 chances compared to Henderson’s 24 and completed 27 successful crosses compared to 17. Therefore, these stats would indicate that JWP has been in superior form this season.

The next comparison is with Manchester City’s Kalvin Phillips. He has played 89 minutes with no goals or assists, so that is as far as that comparison can go. Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher has also been selected, picking up four assists and zero goals as well as creating 20 chances with six successful crosses – these stats all worse than Ward-Prowse. These inclusions highly suggest that Southgate is choosing players based on their reputation and if they play for a big 6 club.

Accordingly, these stats could very well justify West Ham fans calling out Southgate’s contradictory actions as their creative star is clearly in much better form, but seemingly doesn’t have the reputation or big six status to get him selected for the England squad.

Data and statistics courtesy of Fotmob website Premier League 2023/2024 top rated players, goals, assists and other stats (

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May 2024