Southampton ace named ‘best in the world’ in key area as Brentford stars warned

James Ward-Prowse Southampton

Thomas Frank has warned his Brentford players they are coming up against arguably the best free-kick taker in the world in James Ward-Prowse.

The Bees travel to Southampton on Tuesday evening and Frank has been looking ahead to the fixture by heaping praise on the England midfielder.

Ward-Prowse is in fine form, having found the net in Southampton’s last three Premier League games.

His strike against Crystal Palace on December 15 saw him reach 11 free-kick goals in the Premier League. Only Gianfranco Zola, Thierry Henry and David Beckham have more in the competition.

Frank put Ward-Prowse up there with Paris Saint-Germain and Argentina great Lionel Messi.

“Ward-Prowse is maybe the best set-piece taker in the league, maybe he’s even the best free-kick taker in the world,” the Dane said.

“There’s one left-footer at PSG who’s right up there and is pretty good as well. So maybe Ward-Prowse is the best right-footed free-kick taker in the world.

“So many times he just puts it into the top corner. It’s not the same as a penalty but it’s pretty close to it for Ward-Prowse.

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“So we’ve got to be aware of that, trying not to give a foul away around the box.”

On Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team as a whole, Frank continued: “I think Southampton are a good, experienced Premier League side.

“Ralph and his coaching staff have done a top job down there. His team is very well-organised, very well-drilled.

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“We know they are coming most likely in a 4-2-2-2 formation, but that they can change very easily to a 4-3-3.

“The energy and structure in the middle, their high press is very impressive.

“They are one of the best or maybe even at some stages the best high-energy pressing team in the league. We need to deal with that.”

Frank rates Brentford campaign so far

Brentford sit in 12th at the halfway point of the campaign, having won six of their 19 games.

“I think it’s been a good first half of the season,” Frank said. “We’ve tried to become an asset to the Premier League, we’ve tried to attack it, being positive and brave.

“Maybe we could even have had a few more points which is quite impressive. And with the injury list, taking that into mind as well, that’s been good.

“But looking forward, only one game at a time, we are trying to maximise everything and we’ll try to get three points tomorrow.

“We only have two targets; one, to focus entirely on the next game, and two, to end as high as possible.

“So instead of only going for a certain points target, we just push to go as high as possible and to maximise every single day.”

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