West Ham boss David Moyes has likened James Ward-Prowse to club icon Mark Noble following a productive start in East London.
The 11-time capped England international completed a £30m move from boyhood club Southampton this summer. To say Ward-Prowse hit the ground running would be an understatement.
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He began with two assists in a win over Chelsea before registering his first goal against Brighton next time out. A further assist followed at Luton, subsequently becoming the first Hammer to make a goal contribution in each of his first three Premier League appearances, last time out in England’s top division he netted against champions Manchester City.
Arguably the most in-form player at Moyes’ disposal heading into their Europa League opening clash with Backa Topola; the 28-year-old spearheaded West Ham’s comeback with two further assists in a 3-1 win, both coming from corners which moved him onto four assists from dead-ball situations this season in all competitions – no other Premier League player has more than one.
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Ward-Prowse in a conversation before the Backa Topola showdown pulled the curtain back. “I’m just trying to be flexible. Sometimes I need to be deep to get on the ball, and sometimes I’m a bit higher, but I try to be that box-to-box midfielder here. I feel like I have the license to do both here, which is good,” he told the club’s official website.
Furthermore, he’s either scored (two) or assisted (five) in each of his first five matches in all competitions for West Ham, with no Premier League player assisting more often in 2023/24 than him (Lucas Digne also five). Such consistency has been lauded by his manager who subsequently paid him the highest of compliments.
“James [Ward-Prowse] has settled in brilliantly well. We felt he had a good chance of settling in quickly due to his Premier League experience, but bringing him in was always a chance to see if he could bring goals and assist to us,” Moyes said after the Backa Topola success. “He’s a Mark Noble-type player for us in many ways, in terms of what he brings to the team.”