James Ward-Prowse believes tonight’s clash with Italy Under-21s will be an ideal start to England Under-21s’ build-up to next summer’s European Championship finals.
The Young Lions sailed through their qualifying campaign for the 2017 tournament, which will be held in Poland, and now begin their preparations with a mouthwatering friendly at St Mary’s tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).
Ward-Prowse, who captained England to victory in the Toulon Tournament last summer, believes Italy will pose a fantastic test.
"We've had a real good qualifying campaign, and the preparation starts now for what's going to be a tough summer,” said the midfielder, who is joined in the squad by Saints teammates Nathan Redmond and Jack Stephens.
“We're all looking forward to facing a tough Italy side and making sure that we're ready, and hopefully we can get a few goals as well.
"I think the mentality has got to be that we've got to improve, that we're not satisfied with the way that we performed in the qualifiers, and we want to kick on from there.
“We want to make sure we're even better and even more prepared for the tough games to come.”
Tickets for tonight's match are still available and can be purchased online by clicking here.