SKIPPER James Ward-Prowse said it was “inspiring” to play alongside Oriol Romeu in the heart of Saints’ midfield.

Romeu and Ward-Prowse have started all nine of the St Mary’s side’s games this season – helping Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men reach fourth spot in the Premier League.

Spaniard Romeu has been in sublime form for Saints this campaign, his rasping volley which found the net against West Bromwich Albion was a highlight for the 29-year-old.

And with the pair’s combined appearances for Saints totalling more than 450 games, Ward-Prowse insisted he was loving playing alongside the former Chelsea man.

He said: “It’s great to play with Ori because for me he’s a great player.

“He wears his heart on his sleeve and he works incredibly hard. To have him next to me in the middle is really inspiring and hopefully we can continue a good partnership.

“I’ve known Ori for a long time, we’ve played a lot together but I think the more you play with somebody you react well to their movements and the way that we think.

“I think it’s a really good partnership that we’re developing and hopefully it can continue.”

Boss Hasenhuttl brought in Frenchman Ibrahima Diallo to add competition in central midfield for Saints this season.

But the Austrian manager insisted the partnership between Ward-Prowse and Romeu had been flourishing.

He said: “It’s definitely helpful if you have Prowsey and Ori – they know each other very well and they like each other.

“They really like to work for each other and it gives you so much support. Then you feel more comfortable on the ball.

“He (Romeu) is very fit at the moment and like Prowsey also, we have such a good cover of distance all the time from these two guys and, as long as the space is not too big, he feels comfortable.

“With the ball we see his development. He has played in some good clubs before as well – we are very happy that we have him.”