By Simon Peach, Pa Chief Football Writer
Published: 00:47 BST, 7 September 2020 | Updated: 01:50 BST, 7 September 2020
James Ward-Prowse believes England can benefit from embracing the 'darker side' of the game - although the midfielder insists he was killing time rather than meddling with the penalty spot in Iceland.
Three and a half years after making his debut, the 25-year-old made his first Three Lions start in Saturday's unconvincing 1-0 Nations League win in Reykjavik, where Gareth Southgate's men almost blew victory.
Joe Gomez gave away a late spot-kick moments after Raheem Sterling scored one at the other end, with England breathing a collective sigh of relief when Birkir Bjarnason blazed over Jordan Pickford's goal.
James Ward-Prowse says England can benefit from making use of the game's darker side
Replays appeared to show Ward-Prowse scuffing the penalty spot before it was taken and former Manchester United skipper Roy Keane said he was 'cheating', but the Southampton captain denied doing that.
'It wasn't any digging of the spot, it was more just delaying the penalty,' he said. 'It was a bit of a mad few minutes for everybody.
'We'd just obviously scored what we thought was the winning goal and then we faced the penalty, so it was more of a delaying tactic just for everyone to get their heads together and prepare for the penalty. Thankfully it went in our favour.'
Footage appeared to show Ward-Prowse scuffing up the penalty spot before Iceland missed
Ward-Prowse insists he was