Southampton strip Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg of captaincy after midfielder expresses desire to leave club

James Ward-Prowse will lead team until end of season, said manager Ralph Hasenhuttl

Alex Pattle
Wednesday 17 June 2020 17:26
Coronavirus: How has sport been affected?

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has been stripped of the Southampton captaincy after the midfielder publicly expressed his wish to leave the club.

Hojbjerg was identified by Tottenham as one of the north London club’s main transfer targets for this summer, and last month the Denmark international said he was striving for a “higher level” than what Southampton can currently offer.

Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl told an online news conference on Wednesday that James Ward-Prowse will take over as captain until the end of the season.

“No, [Hojbjerg] will not be captain,” Hasenhuttl said ahead of Southampton’s game at Norwich this Friday – both sides’ first fixture back as the Premier League returns from a three-month coronavirus-enforced suspension.

“I spoke with him and we had an agreement, and made clear that if you decide not to extend your contract, you will not be captain of this team,” Hasenhuttl continued.

“I’ve spoken to him in the last few days and he knows that he is an important player for this club. I think we have found a good agreement.”

Hojbjerg, 24, enters the final year of his contract at St Mary’s on 1 July. In May, he told Sport 1 in Germany that his aspirations include trophies.

“I know what I want, the club knows it too,” Hojbjerg said. “I want to play at an even higher level than I am currently.

“The relationship between me and Southampton is fantastic; the club gave me the platform to grow.

“I’m not saying ‘Goodbye’, and I’m focused on my club, but my goal is very clear. I want to win the Premier League and the Champions League.”

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