By Tam McManus

21st Mar, 2023 | 2:24pm

Newcastle target James Ward-Prowse backed to quit Southampton - 'it's time', says pundit

James Ward-Prowse is good enough to play at a top-six club in England and needs to leave Southampton this summer regardless of relegation.

That is the view of former Hibernian striker Tam McManus, who spoke exclusively to Football Insider about the future of Southampton’s 28-year-old captain.

Football Insider sources revealed (9 March) that Newcastle United are well prepared to rival Tottenham and Aston Villa for Ward-Prowse’s signature this summer.

Ward-Prowse has spent his entire career at Southampton, making 399 senior appearances for the club and scoring 53 times.

Southampton currently sit last in the Premier League table, and a move in the summer looks increasingly likely if the Saints are demoted.

McManus believes Ward-Prowse needs to test himself at a top club while at the peak of his career.

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He could end up becoming another Matt Le Tissier,” McManus told Football Insider.

“I think he’s been at Southampton all his career.

He’s not quite he’s as good as Le Tissier, but he’s a very good player and has been capped for England.

He’s 28 now, and I think if he’s going to go it needs to be this season.

Southampton looks as if they might go down this year as well.

“But in the peak of his career, he should be looking for his big move – he’s 100 per cent leaving if they get relegated and I think he needs to leave even if they stay up.

He’s too good for Southampton and it’s time for him to go test himself at a big six club, I think he’s good enough for that.

In other news, Southampton, Brighton and Leicester City in race to sign Liverpool star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain