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James Ward-Prowse compared to Lionel Messi by Brentford boss

James Ward-Prowse compared to Lionel Messi.

Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse has been compared to Lionel Messi by Brentford manager Thomas Frank, ahead of the Premier League meeting between the two sides on Tuesday night.

Frank is preparing his side to face the Saints and the considerable set-piece threat of Ward-Prowse on Tuesday evening, in a rearranged fixture that was postponed in December due to Covid-19.

James Ward-Prowse set piece threat.

Ward-Prowse has scored 11 direct free kicks throughout his Premier League career, with only David Beckham (18), Gianfranco Zola and Thierry Henry (both 12) ahead of him, and this has not gone unnoticed by Frank, whose side currently sit two points ahead of Southampton in the table.

“Ward-Prowse is maybe the best set-piece taker in the league, maybe he’s even the best free-kick taker in the world,” the Danish coach said ahead of the game.

“There’s one left-footer at PSG who’s right up there and is pretty good as well. So maybe Ward-Prowse is the best right-footed free-kick taker in the world.”

james ward-prowse

Thomas Frank: “We’ve got to be aware.”

You don’t need to be a football expert to conclude that Frank is referring to Messi, who has scored 58 direct free kicks over his career, thought to be the most among active players.

“So many times he just puts it into the top corner,” Frank continued in his assessment of the England international.

“It’s not the same as a penalty but it’s pretty close to it for Ward-Prowse. So we’ve got to be aware of that, trying not to give a foul away around the box.”


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England ambitions.

Since the beginning of last season, Ward-Prowse has scored five direct free kicks in the Premier League, the most of any player in Europe’s big five leagues.

His most recent successful effort came away to Crystal Palace in December in a match that finished 2-2.

The 27-year-old has nine caps for England but missed out on a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad for Euro 2020 last summer.

Given his prowess from dead balls, whether he is scoring or assisting, Ward-Prowse is sure to be a decent option to call upon when England head to the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

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