James Ward-Prowse believes the current crop of England Under-21s are growing in stature, as they prepare for tonight’s crucial UEFA EURO 2017 qualifier in Switzerland.
Ward-Prowse is set to captain the side for the match, in Thun (7pm GMT), as the Young Lions look to strengthen their position at the top of Group 9.
Gareth Southgate’s team have taken ten points from their opening four games, but have Norway and Switzerland both lurking three points behind them.
With a new crop of players coming through, following a group-stage exit at last summer’s Euros, Ward-Prowse is optimistic the latest squad, which includes his Saints teammates Matt Targett and Jack Stephens, is starting to gel together.
“I think every group you’re involved in is different,” he said. “In terms of the 21s it is different, because the last two years we had a really good team bond.
“From the first day, we all gelled together really well. This new group of players has taken a little bit more time, but I think you can see from the results that we are gradually getting better.
“We are sitting top of the qualification group, which is the main thing.”
Ward-Prowse is also looking forward to seeing his Saints teammate Fraser Forster back in action for the senior England team this week.
“I am really good friends with him and to see the work he put in in the gym to make sure he was physically at his best, it wasn’t any surprise that come the first game he looked like he had been playing all season,” he said.
“It’s credit to him and hopefully it will continue for club and country.”