Pundit and former England defender Micah Richards has called upon Newcastle United and Liverpool to ‘test the water’ with Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse [via Mail Online].
The Saints’ relegation to the Championship was confirmed on Saturday, May 13, when they were beaten 2-0 at home by Fulham. It has been a thoroughly miserable season for the south coast outfit, with many of their key players set to leave the club as a result.
One of them is Ward-Prowse – several clubs have been linked with the 28-year-old, but Richards believes he would be best suited to a move to Liverpool or Newcastle.
Should Newcastle opt to snap Ward-Prowse up, he would offer a new dimension to their game. He is widely regarded as one of the best free-kick takers in the world – his ability from dead ball scenarios is almost unprecedented.
His conversion rate from free kicks stands at 15.2% – since he joined the Premier League, the average conversion rate of free kick takers is just 5.6%. To say he is above average in this regard would be a gross understatement.
Additionally, he is also a very hard-working box-to-box player – he always presents himself as a passing option. Additionally, he’s brilliant at pinging long balls forward from deep.
Newcastle have no shortage of quality midfielders, but Ward-Prowse would give them something they do not have – a world-class set-piece specialist. This could be the difference between competing with the league’s top teams and midtable mediocrity in the long run.