James Ward-Prowse is just two goals away from equaling David Beckham’s record for most free-kick goals in the Premier League after scoring a wonder against Everton on Saturday.
The 28-year-old midfielder, believed by many to be the best set-piece specialist in Europe and beyond, has scored an impressive 16 direct free-kicks in England’s top flight.
His first was during the 2015/16 campaign, when he beat one of then West Brom goalkeeper Boaz Myhill.
And the Southampton Academy product has continued to be a real threat from set pieces, with notable free-kick goals against Manchester United, Tottenham, Newcastle and this effort diverted against the wolves.
Some say that giving Ward-Prowse a free-kick is like giving another player a penalty. His accuracy from the range has been so consistent over the years.
Indeed, 53 per cent of his free-kicks have hit the target since 2016/17, which is well above the Premier League average of 32 per cent, and a total of 18.42 percent of these have been goals.
So where does he rank when it comes to all-time free throw shooters?
Well, Twitter user @unSeenFooty has posted a four-minute compilation of his last 100 free throws to give you an idea of his talent from the range. Check it out below.
Here’s how fans reacted to the free kick compilation.
One commented: “Top three easily. Consistency in attacks is crazy when combined in a competition like this,” while another said: “Third best ever. Juninho miles ahead and Messi just above him in second.”
A third wrote: “Overall consistency here is really impressive. Only a handful that have caught fire and a couple hitting the wall. But overall most hit the target, the goal post or very close to it. dead ball ability, always a threat.”
Southampton manager Nathan Jones praised Ward-Prowse after he scored a brace for the Saints in their crucial relegation clash against Everton at Goodison Park, a game they won 2-1.
“He’s been outstanding since I’ve come in, his attitude,” Jones said after the full-time whistle on Saturday.
“My first conversation with him was 10 minutes after he wasn’t picked for England. Since then he’s been absolutely world-class for me. The way he’s reacted and the performances you’re seeing now , she’s very driven and motivated.”
Jones added: “It’s vital, I like to get to know my captains and have a real relationship with them, a real personal relationship so they understand the decisions we make.
“Sometimes we will make difficult decisions, tactical decisions, but he is the one who takes everything and understands it. You see how the group is.
“I’m sure he’ll get it (Beckham’s record) because I think he’ll be playing in the Premier League for a few more years and the quality won’t drop. So unless someone comes in and cuts off his right leg, I think that record is under threat.” .
Where do you rank Ward-Prowse on the list of all-time free throw shooters?
Let us know in the comments.