SAINTS skipper James Ward-Prowse admits his regret at missing out on another international break with England, adding: “Any opportunity to represent your country has to be taken with the utmost respect.”

The 27-year-old midfielder was called up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the final two World Cup qualifiers, after he scored his second international goal against Andorra last time out. Despite missing three games in October through suspension, Southgate still showed faith to select him and the Three Lions went on to win 10-0 against San Marino – the match Ward-Prowse would likely have started.

But the Saints man wasn’t there after he was ruled out before the fixtures began through illness, which manager Ralph Hasenhuttl later confirmed just to be a "bug".

It meant Ward-Prowse missed a certain chance to add to his international goals account, as well keep himself at the forefront of Southgate’s mind ahead of the World Cup in Qatar next winter.

“Yeah I was disappointed,” Ward-Prowse told the Daily Echo.

“You know when you get any opportunity to represent your country in your career it’s got to be taken with the utmost respect and speciality.

“It was unfortunate to miss out on it but it gave me a chance and a week to recover and get myself ready for this game (Norwich).”

Ward-Prowse reassured supporters: “I came through the game (at Norwich), I’m feeling well, I just need to find that consistency at the moment and that will come.”

It’s been a difficult, stop-start few months for the Three Lions international, after he made the preliminary squad for this year’s European Championship – with the final held at Wembley.

However, he was cut from the squad that took part and missed out on the historic run, before suffering a knee injury which disrupted his pre-season schedule.

He played through the start of the season still recovering from that, added to by also having "stomach issues" which impacted his fitness.

But Ward-Prowse still played every minute of the Premier League up until his sending off at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge – although he’s found it difficult to hit top gear that Saints’ supporters became accustomed to from his form last campaign.

With the latest setback coming during the November break, Ward-Prowse reflected on a difficult start to the campaign: “Yeah it has been, I’ve been very lucky in recent years to have consistency with no injuries or health issues and being available for every game. To start the season with a knee injury and the stomach issues, it’s hard to find the level of consistency, but these things happen. It’s about being adaptable in this game. Hopefully I can knuckle down and help the team.”