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The 41-year-old has heaped praise on the young midfielder and has held him up as a role model for those coming through the club's youth academy for the future

Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse represents the future of the club, according to manager Mauricio Pochettino.

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The 18-year-old has fallen into favour with the former Espanyol boss and has seen his impressive form earn him his first call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England Under-21s side in August.

Ward-Prowse has featured as one of three teenage academy graduates at the club alongside Luke Shaw and Callum Chambers and Pochettino has hailed him as a 'figurehead’ for future youth players.  

"James Ward-Prowse is basically an example of the player we are promoting, the player we want to have in this club," he said at a press conference ahead of the Saints' clash with Fulham.

"In every training session he gives 100 per cent. He always has an immediate impact in what he does and he is still a player who is growing.  He is a figurehead of the sort of player we are looking for at Southampton."

Pochettino has made a bright start to the league season and admits his interest in the job stemmed from their focus on promoting youth players.

He continued: "I am a person who has always given a lot of value to the youth teams in clubs. I was a player who came out of the youth ranks in one of the best youth academies in Argentina.

"Also, when I was managing Espanyol, I was a manager who always liked to push through that academy culture. I really value the younger players in any club.

"One of the main reasons I actually signed for Southampton was the fact that they wanted to push through that academy system. They wanted to reinforce and that went very well with how I view the future of a football club."

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