James Ward-Prowse was ‘jumping through the living room’ when he found out he’d be facing his hometown club.
The Farlington-born midfielder is relishing Southampton’s trip to Pompey in the highly-anticipated south-coast derby.
Ward-Prowse is a former Fratton Park season-ticket holder and was with the Blues’ academy up to under-nine level.
He eloped to Pompey’s bitter rivals, though, and has gone on to make 242 appearances and scored 20 goals for the Premier League side.
The former Oaklands Catholic School pupil, who donated £15,000 to East Lodge Youth earlier this year, is preparing for his first appearance against the Blues.
St Mary’s boss Ralph Hasenhuttl revealed Ward-Prowse was ecstatic when Southampton were drawn away to Pompey in the third round of the Carabao Cup.
And the England international has warned his team-mates of the hostile they’ll be given.
Hasenhuttl said: ‘I think Prowsey was the guy who was jumping through the living room after the draw.
‘He really likes to play against this team.
‘For him, it is a special game. But also for the others, they know what it is about and everybody knows how important this game is for us.
‘Even if you’re not from this area, we have a lot of players who've played derbies around the world.
‘Maybe it’s more important for the fans to win this game and know what it’s about.
‘I played in a lot of games as a player. In every country, there are famous, historical (games) and we know what is is about.
‘I’m sure he has so far (told the foreign players what the game means).
‘He doesn’t have to before the game because I’m normally speaking in the dressing room but I’m sure he has before.’