RALPH Hasenhuttl issued a clear hands-off message to Premier League rivals interested in making a mover for Saints star James Ward-Prowse, declaring: “He is our captain and he will stay here.”

The 27-year-old midfielder was subject to reports attributing Manchester United and Manchester City with interest in a transfer worth up to £75million this summer.

England international Ward-Prowse has scored nine Premier League goals this campaign, beating his personal best, as he looks to secure a spot on the plane with Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions this year.

Saints last year turned down a measly offer of £25million from league rivals Aston Villa, for the Saints academy graduate. Ward-Prowse signed a new five-year deal, of which he still has four years remaining, to continue his work with the St Mary’s side.

Daily Echo: Saints captain James Ward-Prowse (Pic: Sean Ryan)Saints captain James Ward-Prowse (Pic: Sean Ryan)

And asked what he would tell clubs interested in making a move for Ward-Prowse, Hasenhuttl declared: “He has another four years on his contract here, he is happy here, he is our captain and he will stay here.

“We have him here as our captain and it is important that we are as a team successful and make steps forward. In this season we have shown in some moments that we can definitely play like a top 10 team, but there is still a few things missing.

“We have a chance in the final three games and this is what we are looking at.”

Ward-Prowse scooped a hattrick of awards including players’ player of the season, fans’ player of the season and goal of the season at St Mary’s on Tuesday night.

“It shows what an amazing job he has done this season so far, fans love him, we know how important he is for our team,” Hasenhuttl said.

“The development of his game is massive and this is the reason why he is a true winner. Goal of the season award, we had a few very good ones so it’s tough.

“When you have Prowsey with his free-kick, it was exceptional I must say. But we had also Stuey and Romain with beautiful goals, also Kyle versus Man City was footballing stuff for me the best one.”

He added: “He's a guy who can also score from this position, with his quality on set-pieces he is very exceptional.

“I haven’t seen any player similar to him in the league, one that is so clinical in his finish there. He doesn’t have a lot of chances to do it because we don’t have a lot of free-kicks, so this is then even harder I think when you have only a few or one, and the one us goal.

“It is fantastic and we should bring him into the position where he can do this more.”

Daily Echo:

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