SAINTS still harbour ambitions of playing European football next season.

Despite starting this weekend's Premier League round in 10th place, and some way off a potential Europa League berth, there is still belief that Saints can make a late break for continental competition positions with 12 games left.

"Anything is possible," said James Ward-Prowse.

"We've seen that the last few years, we can't look too far ahead or too far behind.

"We have to just focus on each game as it comes.

"We've just got to make sure we're ready for the fight and give us the best chance to succeed."

Saints have played Europa League football in consecutive campaigns, but it looks increasingly unlikely they'll make it three in a row.

This term they narrowly missed out on qualification from the group stages in excruciating fashion and did something similar the season before last but in the play-off round.

Ward-Prowse stated that Saints are set-up as a club to give it another go.

"That's the ambition of the players," he said.

"We've got the players and the squad and the manager to play European football.

"We all want to get back to that stage and we won't give up until the final whistle of the season to give ourselves the best chance of being the in Europa League draw again."

The 22-year-old midfielder hopes to continue to be at the heart of Saints' resurgence, which has seen them record back-to-back Premier League triumphs after a difficult start to 2017.

The academy graduate, who is celebrating a first call-up to the England senior team, has been a key part in Claude Puel's side of late.

Ward-Prowse, who has previously struggled to nail down a starting role, has been playing in the attacking three just behind Manolo Gabbiadini in the reinstated 4-2-3-1 and he admits he's growing in confidence the more he plays.

"Any role in team is a lot easier if you get a good run of games," he said.

"That's something I've had this year unlike any other year and that's given me the confidence to grow and learn more about my position.

"I feel very a much a set part within the team.

"I'm growing in confidence in every game and that's only a positive."

He added: "It's a position I've grown into the last few weeks and whether the manager puts me there or in the middle then that's up to him.

"But I certainly enjoy playing there and it's given me a chance to get forward and create a few more opportunities and into goal-scoring positions."