James Ward-Prowse was satisfied with his evening’s work in the England Under-21s’ 1-0 win over Moldova on Thursday.
The 18 year-old midfielder grabbed his first taste of the action at that level from the start and hopes to use the performance as a platform to build on for both club and country.
James played 65 minutes of the game before being replaced by Will Hughes of Derby County, and is now already looking ahead to Monday’s game in Finland.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “It was something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now and to get into the starting eleven as well was a great bonus.
“I felt that I did alright,” he added.
“We were a bit frustrated in the first half because we were a bit sloppy in possession and could have moved the ball a bit quicker, but overall I was pleased with how I contributed and I’m looking forward to the next game.”
Ward-Prowse played in a deeper midfield role than the one he has become accustomed to of late with Saints, but that didn’t stop him from venturing forward throughout the game. However, a series of missed chances from his teammates meant that the contest looked much closer than it was.
“Credit to them because they did some last ditch defending,” he said of Moldova. “We should have added a few more (goals), but credit to them and we’ll be working on our ruthlessness in training, to hopefully get some more goals.
“It was great to work under the manager (Gareth Southgate) as he has a wide range of experience to offer us boys and I think he’s already getting the best out of us.
“Hopefully I’ll play the next game against Finland and use that confidence to take into the next game with Southampton and add a bit more to the team.”
James has spent most of the week training up at St George’s Park, and he acknowledged that it has been a bit of a step up from what he’s been used to with the national side.
“It’s been good and it’s been different to the other experiences I’ve had with England,” Ward-Prowse said.
“I’ve come away with some of the older lads but I’ve met a few new players and obviously a new manager as well so it’s been different but beneficial.
“We didn’t train with the seniors but I bumped into Rickie (Lambert) a few times and said hello which was nice!”
Ward-Prowse timed his debut perfectly as it coincided with Luke Shaw’s long awaited first appearance at this level, and the midfielder was delighted to see his club teammate join him on the pitch in England colours.
“It was fantastic for him and good to see a fellow Academy graduate go out and perform the way that he did so I was really pleased for him,” James said.
“He’s taken it all in his stride as he’s been unfortunate with injuries and stuff but it was great to make our debuts together, and long may it continue.”