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James ends scoring drought in style
James Ward-Prowse revealed his relief at ending his 21-month wait for a goal as he netted a superb free kick for the England under-21s.
The Saints midfielder burst onto the scene with an FA Cup goal against Coventry in January 2012 in what was only his second senior appearance for the club.
Since then Ward-Prowse has matured into a very fine player but has suffered a goal drought.
He ended that on Tuesday night at Portman Road and was understandably delighted.
“I wheeled off – you've got to make a bit of a meal of it,” said the Saints midfielder, who later saw a shot come off the post.
“Obviously I have been practicing free-kicks in training, so it is nice to see it paying off. It is a great, great feeling scoring for your country.
“Coventry was my last goal in the FA Cup, a long, long time ago. “I had to enjoy it and the occasion.
“I should have done better and got a second one, but I was a bit tired towards the end. It is something for me to carry on working on.”
Ward-Prowse has impressed since linking up with the England under-21s, playing all four matches since Gareth Southgate replaced Stuart Pearce at the helm.
The 18-year-old played for other national representative sides before that, including the under-20s at their World Cup in the summer.
England failed to win a single match in Turkey, compounding a miserable summer in which Pearce’s under-21s – including Saints defender Nathaniel Clyne – lost all three games in their European Championship.
Ward-Prowse, though, is confident that things are on the up now.
“It is a different feeling amongst the squad and with all the staff,” he said.
“It is a feeling I have never had in the team before, where everyone feels united together. “We're all working hard towards the same goal.
“I think that is a good way for us moving forward in the qualifying campaign.”
Home clashes with Finland and San Marino await the under-21s next month, although first up is a return to club matters with Saints and a trip to defending champions Manchester United this weekend.
“That is something to look forward to now," Ward-Prowse added. “It is a game you always look out for on the fixture list.
“All the lads have been working hard back on the training ground and hopefully recover and get ready for the game.”
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