James Ward-Prowse: Southampton midfielder on the art of free-kick taking
Former Saints captain Jamie Redknapp talks to the English midfielder building a reputation as a set-piece specialist
Last Updated: 16/04/20 10:55am
Free-kick taking is a skill attempted by many in the Premier League but one few have mastered.
David Beckham, Gianfranco Zola, Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo are synonymous with the art form, but natural successors to that illustrious quartet have been few and far between.
One player steadily building a reputation as a set-piece specialist, though, is Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse.
The England international caught up with former Saints captain and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp - who is in the top 10 Premier League free-kicks scorers - during the lockdown to discuss the art of free-kicks on The Football Show.
The ultimate buzz
"[Free-kicks are] the ultimate thing for me. It was always something [from a young age] I liked because you could score incredible goals.
"As soon as a free-kick is awarded you get a buzz on and think, 'this is a great chance for me to score a good goal'.
"I get a little bit nervous because you don't get many, so when you get that one you think 'right, this has got to be the one'.
"If you practise a lot in the week it comes down to that moment, and if you don't execute it well, you're gutted."
"I always try to set my free-kicks just off-centre in the middle of the goal so hopefully the curve takes it away from the goalkeeper.
"That's my technique. If it has pace the goalkeeper shouldn't have a chance.
"I try and start it on the goalkeeper and make him think he has a chance, and then have it curl away."
Practice makes perfect
"Thursday is usually my day for kicking a few balls. I pick a bag of balls up away from everybody else and shrug off the defenders trying to take them! I always try to take them alone and in my own space.
"I need to try and get some mannequins and set something up at home. Hopefully it won't be too much longer [being in lockdown], we are all missing playing the game but, more importantly, we have to be safe and make sure we are in a fit mind to go back and play.
"I'm missing football a lot, it's what we all love doing. You miss that Thursday, Friday build-up to games, where you get that feeling of anticipation in your stomach.
"I think I might start re-watching some of the game to try and get that buzz back. Hopefully it won't be too much longer, and we can get back doing the thing we love doing."