Nigel Adkins backs 16-year-old Southampton debutant


Southampton manager Nigel Adkins has backed 16-year-old midfielder James Ward-Prowse to do well after revealing he will make his debut on Tuesday.

Ward-Prowse will feature at Crystal Palace in the Carling Cup fourth round.

He is a first-year apprentice at Southampton's famed academy which has produced Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the past.

"I have every confidence he is going to do very well," Southampton manager Nigel Adkins told BBC Radio Solent.

Ward-Prowse has already featured for Southampton's Under-21 side and has also played for England at Under-17 level. He is also in his first year as an academy scholar at the club.

"He trained a lot with the first team last season and this year and we have every confidence in him," added Adkins.

"Our commitment is to make sure we have a path through our youth team for players to get into the first team."

Adkins is sure Ward-Prowse can handle the occasion on Tuesday and will not be fazed by the atmosphere at Selhurst Park.

"He has got a maturity about him that is beyond his years and passes the ball ever so well," said Adkins.

"James has not been fazed in any way, shape or form when he has trained with the first team which is pleasing. He has played really well in the development games and we are going to give him an opportunity.

"He plays in the middle of the park and he has something about him. He is intelligent, has a great attitude and this shows we have a commitment to youth here at Southampton.

"What a great experience for him to play at Selhurst Park and this is all part of his development. This whole experience is going to be great for him and the players will get behind him and I know our supporters will get behind him."

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