Southampton star James Ward-Prowse claims he wants to shake off the ‘academy boy’ tag that he has been saddled with.

The 24-year old has risen through the ranks with the South Coast club and is now one of the stars under manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.

Having recently received an England re-call after a slew of injuries in Gareth Southgate’s squad, Ward-Prowse has often been viewed as an example that youngsters should follow for the Saints.

Catherine Ivill/Getty Images Sport

However, the playmaker wants to shake this image, and move away from being perceived as the nice guy of football. As reported by the Daily Echo, Ward-Prowse said:

Having come through the academy at Southampton I have always been known as the academy boy, the way to go.

Since the new manager at Southampton came in, he mentioned a few things I needed to change, and I took that on board.

I want to get away from that perception of the Southampton academy boy. That’s not what I want to be anymore.

He [Hasenhuttl] told me to be a bit more aggressive, to try and stamp my authority a bit more on what’s going on, so it was a good conversation I had, and I respected the way he approached me with that.

I have the utmost respect for him. He told me my strengths, my weaknesses and I feel I have benefited from that.

Promising Southampton youngsters coming through