James Ward-Prowse is happy to be back at Rush Green for pre-season training and is excited to work under new manager Julen Lopetegui.

The central midfielder had a very impressive first season in Claret and Blue. He scored seven goals and provided 12 assists in 52 matches in all competitions last campaign, and is looking to build on that under a more attacking coach this time out.

The 29-year-old told the official website: ” I had a really nice time off, but it’s always good to come back ready for a new season. It’s gone quickly, but I had a couple of holidays here and there and managed to spend some quality time with my family.

Ward-Prowse returned to Rush Green with his non-international teammates and was pleased to see new arrivals Luis Guilherme and Fes Foderingham, as well as the new manager, who he has helped welcome to the club.

He continued: “I try to keep myself in decent shape over the summer – gone are the days when you can let yourself go with the demands of the Premier League now!

“The first day invariably involves fitness tests, and we’ve done some of that to kick us off. It’s the start of a lot of hard work, but the hope is that gets us ready for the new season and sustains us for its entirety.

“It’s always exciting when there’s a new head coach in the building. Everyone starts with a clean slate, so there’s an opportunity for everyone to show him what they can do. It was great to meet him, and from day one it’s clear he’s going to demand high standards on and off the pitch, which I think can only be a positive thing.”

The Hammers squad is set to head to Florida for a pre-season camp after they have faced Dagenham and Redbridge on the 20th July. West Ham will take on fellow Premier League clubs Wolverhampton Wanderers and Crystal Palace on their Sunshine State Tour. The players will then return to the UK before facing Celta Vigo a week before the start of the Premier League season against Aston Villa.

Despite being over a month away, the Aston Villa game is already in the back of Ward-Prowse’s mind. He said “I’m really excited for the two trips we’ve got coming up. It’ll be good to get away somewhere new, to put in some hard work and to enjoy being around the group.

“I went to the States once with Southampton, so I’m looking forward to being back out there. It’s going to be hot and we’ve got some high-quality games lined up, so it should be good.

“Ultimately, from day one we’re gearing up for the Aston Villa game and beyond. Every training session we do has a purpose and a meaning to it, and we’ve got to get used to that because time is going to go quickly and it will come around before we know it. It’s exciting.”

Despite his nineteen-goal contributions, some West Ham fans were expecting a bit more from Ward-Prowse’s general play last season. With Lopetegui expected to have a more possession-based system, the midfielder could really thrive this season and be the player we saw at Southampton.