Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse has revealed that he “learnt a lot” from former Saints and Liverpool forward Rickie Lambert.
Ward-Prowse is recognised as one of the best free-kick takers in world football.
The Englishman has scored twelve free-kicks in the Premier League. He is level with Gianfranco Zola and Thierry Henry.
The only player who has more is David Beckham. The Man Utd legend set the record at 18 before he retired.
Ward-Prowse is part of Gareth Southgate’s England squad and he is likely to start against the Ivory Coast on Tuesday night.
Ahead of this game, the midfielder has revealed that he “learnt a lot” from Lambert on how best to take set-pieces.
The forward spent five years at the Saints between 2009 and 2014. He then had a year at Liverpool and he retired after spells at West Brom and Cardiff City.
Ward-Prowse has suggested that he used to “loiter near” Lambert:
“I had to really go away and practice and try and perfect the dead-ball situations and being in the same squad as Rickie Lambert, who better to teach me?” Ward-Prowse told talkSPORT.
“He had a fantastic record of free-kicks and I learnt a lot from him.
“I remember watching him practising his free-kicks and I would loiter near him to be hopefully be asked to take one or have that opportunity.
“So to be practising with him was great and to see how easy it made it look was pretty special. It was quite a nice moment to share the pitch with a Southampton legend showing me the way he takes free-kicks.”
“His understanding of the game is improving, his maturity, and he is getting to that point whereby he is a player and I’m trying to think of another whose career has just gradually got better and better all the way through.
“By the end of his career he’ll be a really top player, he’s a top player now at Southampton, but he been able to build a real bank of games and develop his game without the big spotlight in terms of a big club.
“I can see it coming for him, I know Southampton fans won’t want to hear that, but there has been a lot of talk in the last few months hasn’t there about him moving on and taking that next step.”
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