James Ward-Prowse reveals free-kick training ‘could have caused injury’ and now practices ‘pressure’ situations once a week as Southampton star approaches David Beckham record

    Free-kick specialist James Ward-Prowse has told talkSPORT he’s had to reduce set-piece practice to avoid injury.

    The Southampton and England midfielder is quickly approaching legendary status from dead-ball situations, having scored 14 in the Premier League.

    Ward-Prowse is four goals away from Beckham’s set-piece record

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    Ward-Prowse is four goals away from Beckham’s set-piece record

    That number puts him second on the all-time list behind David Beckham’s 18, and he doesn’t look like stopping anytime soon with an outrageous repertoire of different techniques and finishes.

    Practice makes perfect for Ward-Prowse, but he has revealed there was a little too much of it during his early career, and he’s since had to reduce his free-kick training.

    “I’m down to once a week now,” the 27-year-old said about how many times he practices.

    “I think when I was a little bit younger I took a lot and I think I might have caused a bit of an injury if I carried on in that way.

    “For me now I’m looking at focusing on taking less, but putting more pressure on those moments because you don’t get too many in a game.

    “I think in the first six games, I’ve had one opportunity to score, so they don’t come around too often.”

    Training is much less about free-kicks now for Ward-Prowse

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    Training is much less about free-kicks now for Ward-Prowse

    Southampton are currently in a season of transition with a number of new players in the squad which has seen some pressure placed on manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.

    As club captain, Ward-Prowse has had to guide the side through rumours of discontent which recently saw an impressive 2-1 win over Chelsea.

    “There’s always things floating about,” he said. “You have to ignore all of that and make sure that you focus on your job.

    “Right now it’s about making sure that I perform the best that I can and to try and lead this very young team into the next stage of the season.

    Ward-Prowse is keen to lead Southampton’s new generation

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    Ward-Prowse is keen to lead Southampton’s new generation

    “He’s [Ralph Hasenhuttl] incredibly intense, he loves his football. He loves the detail that we go into every day on the training pitch.

    “You pick up a new bit of detail that you hadn’t thought of yourself that he’s putting across to you.

    “The intensity that we work at is so pleasing and when you see the results that we pick up with the way that we play and the way that we press, it’s great to be part of.”

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