James Ward-Prowse for West Ham?
A box-to-box midfielder with a free-kick technique likened to David Beckham’s, James Ward-Prowse has become indispensable for Southampton.
But is he a “one trick pony?”
Let`s have a look at some statistics
The 166 corners he took last season were the most of any player in the league. His 41 chances created from set-pieces was joint top, and his four goals from direct free-kicks were league leading.
It should be pointed out the Saints captain played every minute of the campaign and, therefore, stands a better chance than many of topping charts based on overall totals.
However, when we consider per-90-minute data, only Ryan Fraser, Pascal Gross and Mason Mount generated higher chance creation stats from set-pieces in 2021-22.
The area which impresses the most is direct free-kicks, where Ward-Prowse had a 20% conversion rate from his 20 attempts, far better than the other Premier League players who attempted 10 or more direct free-kicks last season.
Ward-Prowse’s path to first-team soccer has been nothing short of spectacular but perhaps even more impressive is his consistency at the highest level.
Since becoming a regular starter in the 2013/14 season, he can boast an exceptional injury record, with his only major setback being a fractured foot in 2014.
Since recovering from the injury, Ward-Prowse has proved that a relentless work-rate doesn’t have to go hand in hand with spells on the sidelines.
What with Southampton in all but name relegated, he would probably not want to ply his trade in the Championship and would be a definite fan favourite (the new Payet!) should he come to West Ham.