SOUTHAMPTON, England (Reuters) - Southampton have stripped unsettled Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg of the captaincy, appointing James Ward-Prowse in his place, manager Ralph Hassenhuettl told reporters on Wednesday.
Denmark midfielder Hojbjerg joined the Saints from Bayern Munich in 2016, and last month made it clear he is eager to play at what he described as a “higher level”, telling German media he wanted to win the Premier League and the Champions League.
Hassenhuettl said the decision to replace Hojbjerg had been amicable. “I had a lot of conversations with him in the last days, and he knows he’s an important player for us,” the Austrian said.
“(But) I said (it would be) impossible if he decides not to stay that he be the captain. Our new captain will be Prowsey.”
Ward-Prowse, who has been at the club since joining the academy as an eight-year-old, will take over the role for the final nine games of the season, starting with the trip to Norwich City on Friday.
Southampton sit 14th in the table on 34 points from 29 matches, 13 points above bottom-of-the-table Norwich.
Reporting by Ossian Shine; Editing by Ken Ferris