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James Ward-Prowse’s prowess as a free-kick specialist is clearly having an influence on youngsters in Southampton’s academy.
England international Ward-Prowse enhanced his reputation as a dead-ball expert with an incredible 35-yard free-kick against Wolves earlier this month.
The 27-year-old has now scored 12 direct free-kicks in the Premier League and is joint-second on the all-time list with Thierry Henry and Gianfranco Zola.
Only David Beckham (18) has managed to score more free-kicks in the Premier League era, and youngsters in the Southampton academy are clearly taking notes.
In footage posted by the club on Instagram, a player in their U9s team scores a superb long-range free-kick during a match at their Staplewood training base.
Sky Sports shared the clip on Saturday ahead of Southampton’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City and pundit Micah Richards was blown away by the youngster’s technique.
“That’s just ridiculous! How they have that technique so young, it’s absolutely brilliant,” he said.
Speaking earlier this week, City manager Pep Guardiola claimed Ward-Prowse currently has “the best free-kick in the world”.
“He is the best taker I have ever seen, right now in the world," said Guardiola.
"No player is a better taker than Ward-Prowse.
James Ward-Prowse is setting a fine example at Southampton! 🎯👏 pic.twitter.com/2jNEydbQle— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 23, 2022
“He is so good, maybe we miss a little bit this quality of a football player.
“A guy who adapts in the same position, he's a team player, great quality without the ball, with the ball, understanding the game.
“Set pieces and corners is exceptional. We need to pay more attention.”
Is there a better free-kick specialist in world football? Let us know your thoughts.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy & Instagram: Southampton FC
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