JAMES Ward-Prowse has insisted that missing out on the European Championships will fuel him to fight for a place in Qatar, adding: “These opportunities now become even more important to me.”

Having been in Southgate’s initial pool for Euro 2020, Ward-Prowse missed the cut for the tournament itself and is determined to use whatever chances he gets to impress between now and the 2022 World Cup.

The 26-year-old Saints skipper featured in both of the warm-up games for the tournament, 1-0 wins over Romania and Austria, but that was as far as his international summer went.

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar takes place in the winter, a first for the competition, so there is over 12 months between now and kick-off – but his withdrawal from the current England squad through illness will have come as another blow.

“I think it’s a massive incentive,” he recently said of the prospect of earning a place in Qatar.

“I’ve missed out once already before and it has definitely given me that hunger to be back there.

“These opportunities in an England shirt now become even more important to me and I have got to make sure that I give that everything to give myself the best chance to be there.

“It’s not just about the 11 players that start the games, it’s about the squad players, the ones that come on off the bench to make the impact and also the ones that maybe don’t play but are part of the squad.

“That’s what is refreshing about this squad. You can feel that unity that no matter who is playing in that first 11 everybody is behind each other supporting each other and you can feel that throughout the squad."

He continued: "We are all in very healthy competition with each other, we all want to be in that first 11 but realistically we know we all can’t be in there.

“It’s just a case of doing the best you can and if you can do that consistently well for your club and when you get your opportunities for England then you give yourself a good chance.”

Ward-Prowse scored during the October international break, when he netted the rebound of his saved penalty in Andorra.