Opinion

Southampton: James Ward-Prowse rebuttal is good for relegation fight

Southampton: James Ward-Prowse rebuttal is good for relegation fight

Are there any players who are better at scoring free-kicks than James Ward-Prowse in the Premier League?

The Southampton midfielder backed up his stunning set-piece effort at Old Trafford earlier on this month with an equally impressive strike against Tottenham Hotspur last Saturday.

Ward-Prowse’s goal against Spurs secured a vital three points for a Saints side who are currently sixteenth in the league standings, two points clear of Cardiff City who currently occupy the relegation places alongside Huddersfield Town and Fulham.

The 24 year-old’s form since the turn of the year has been very impressive as he has scored six goals in 10 appearances for Ralph Hassenhuttl’s side with his contribution earning crucial victories over the likes of Everton and Leicester City in January.

Ward-Prowse’s supreme level of fitness has been a major reason behind the effectiveness of Southampton’s midfield under their Austrian coach.

According to Sky Sports, no other player in the Premier League has covered more ground than the play-maker in 2019 (123.7km) with the closest challenger being Burnley’s Jack Cork with a distance covered of 122.9km.

The form of the Portsmouth-born star had led to calls for him to be part of the England squad for the national team’s fixtures upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro at the end of March.

However, Gareth Southgate decided instead to opt for the likes of Declan Rice, Jordan Henderson and Ruben Loftus-Cheek for his midfield options leaving Ward-Prowse having to continue his wait for a second cap after being given his debut in 2017.

England’s loss could be Southampton’s gain as international fixtures can often see players pick up knocks which leaves their club sides worse off. By not being considered for selection by the Three Lions, Ward-Prowse can now focus totally on helping his side avoid relegation by preparing for the Saints’ fixture against Brighton & Hove Albion on March 30th.

A victory for Hassenhuttl’s side at the Amex Stadium could see them edge ever closer to Premier League survival, preserving their top-flight status for another campaign.

What do you think Saints fans? Should Ward-Prowse have been called up for England? How big is the midfielder’s influence on your team’s recent successes? Let us know below.

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