In his farewell video in Southampton, a young James Ward-Prowse expressed his two career goals: to receive a scholarship from the Saints and to play for England. However, he also had another dream – to be David Beckham, not just similar to him. Ward-Prowse imitated Beckham’s hairstyles as a child and looked up to him as a hero. The connection between Ward-Prowse and Beckham extended to their free-kick-taking skills, and when Ward-Prowse joined West Ham and took the No 7 shirt, he felt it was a great opportunity to emulate his idol.
Ward-Prowse reflects on how he used to watch Beckham’s games on TV and immediately rush to the garden to practice his skills, often breaking greenhouses along the way. His dedication has paid off, as he is now on the verge of equalling Beckham’s Premier League record for free-kick goals. Ward-Prowse speaks proudly about his career coming full circle, with his son starting his own journey into youth football. While the pressure is there to match Beckham’s record, Ward-Prowse remains level-headed and focused on his goals.
He discusses the challenges of being a free-kick specialist, including the expectation from the stadium and the technique involved. He acknowledges the stereotype of being known only for his set-piece ability and is determined to show people that he is capable of much more. Ward-Prowse understands West Ham’s style of play and believes that he can contribute in various aspects of the game, not just in set plays. His conversations with manager David Moyes have emphasized his all-round skills.
Looking ahead, Ward-Prowse has aspirations to return to the England squad after being left out in the last two international tournaments. He sees his move to West Ham as an opportunity to enhance his chances and realizes that he must perform consistently at the club level to attract attention from the national team. Ward-Prowse envisions himself replicating Beckham’s free-kick prowess on his West Ham debut against Chelsea, but understands that he must seize the opportunity when it presents itself.
Fans can watch James Ward-Prowse’s West Ham debut against Chelsea live on Sky Sports’ Super Sunday, with the game kicking off at 4.30pm on Sunday, August 20th.