With his goal against Crystal Palace on 15th December 2021, James Ward-Prowse notched up his 11th direct free kick in the Premier League, putting him in illustrious company with only three players ahead of him in the rankings.
James Ward-Prowse is a Southampton stalwart, having joined the club’s academy at the age of eight and becoming a full-time scholar with the team in 2011.
Making his professional debut for Southampton against Palace in October 2011, he soon became known as a dead-ball specialist both for his club and during his sporadic appearances for England.
Unfortunately for James Ward-Prowse, despite his goal bringing Southampton level at 1-1, the side didn’t go on to pick up the win and only took a point away from Selhurst Park in a 2-2 draw.
His 11th goal brings him level with Cristiano Ronaldo on 11 goals scored directly from free kicks, meaning that both will be looking to increase their tally this season now the Portuguese star is back with Manchester United.
27-year-old Ward-Prowse and the evergreen Ronaldo are the top two ranked active players in the list, but they’ll have to go some way if they want to make it to the number one spot.
Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola and Arsenal talisman Thierry Henry are just one goal ahead of the duo with 12 strikes directly from the dead ball, but then there is a six-goal gap before David Beckham in top place.
Beckham’s record 18 goals from a direct free kick is going to take some beating, and that’s without the goals he scored from the same position for Real Madrid and LA Galaxy.
However, time is certainly still on the side of James Ward-Prowse, and although Southampton will hope he remains a one-club man after he signed a new five-year contract in the summer, any side he plays in will know exactly what he brings to the table.