Opinion: West Ham’s £30 million training cone is a one-trick pony

James Ward-Prowse continues to offer very little for West Ham United when he’s not whipping in set-pieces.

West Ham manager David Moyes signed James Ward-Prowse from Southampton in the summer for around £30 million (Sky Sports).

We all know how good he is from dead ball situations – Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino even raved about his set-piece ability only last week.

On face value, the 29-year-old has made a big impact at the London Stadium, with 15 goal contributions already for the Hammers.

That said, his overall impact on our performances hasn’t actually been remarkable at all. In fact, he seems to really slow us down in transition.

In order for this team to really progress, Moyes needs to sign a proper ball carrier with real athleticism and power – someone like Monaco star Youssouf Fofana.

Until that happens, we will never have enough in the middle of the park to really push for a place inside the top six of the Premier League table…

Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images

West Ham United ‘s James Ward-Prowse is a one-trick pony

It feels so strange writing this because let’s face it, Ward-Prowse has bagged five goals and 10 assists assists in 33 games for West Ham this season (Transfermarkt).

However, when his set-pieces aren’t on, he really does offer very little. The majority of his assists have come from dead-ball situations, and you can’t tell me that we wouldn’t have scored the majority of those goals had someone like Jarrod Bowen been our set-piece taker.

In fact, Bowen has been particularly good from set-pieces whenever JWP hasn’t played, baggin a couple of assists from corners.

Also, two of his goals have come from the penalty spot. His all-round game just isn’t good enough in my opinion, and when he’s playing in central midfield alongside Tomas Soucek, we desperately lack the energy, dynamism and athleticism that’s needed to succeed in the Premier League.

As mentioned earlier, Ward-Prowse really slows West Ham down in transition. For someone with such wonderful technical passing ability, he doesn’t half play a lot of backwards and sideways passes.

The former Southampton man rarely gets his head up and plays balls over the top into the channels, or out wide to our wingers.

His lack of physicality and athleticism is a huge concern as well. Basically, when he’s not assisting, he contributes very little to the way that we play as a team. It may sound extremely harsh, but Ward-Prowse is like a training cone at times – incredibly static and easy to play against.

Now we’re starting to see why so many Hammers fans were against the idea of signing him from Southampton back in the summer.

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