Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse in dreamland after free-kick double
Southampton skipper James Ward-Prowse admits he is living the dream after his double downed Aston Villa.
The Saints sit fourth after Sunday’s impressive 4-3 victory, despite conceding three times in the second half.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side raced into a 3-0 lead at the break after Ward-Prowse, on his 26th birthday, set up Jannik Vestergaard before scoring two brilliant free-kicks to help lift them into the top four in the Premier League.
He told the club’s official site: “I’ve said it a couple of times, but to be playing in the Premier League, captain of this club and to score a couple of goals, it’s my boyhood dream and I’m enjoying every minute at the moment.
“Any goal in the Premier League whether it’s a tap in or a free-kick, it doesn’t matter and helped us to the three points today.”
As a result, Ward-Prowse has overtaken club great Matt Le Tissier for goals scored from direct free-kicks in the Premier League for Southampton.
“To beat a legend of the club like Matt Le Tissier is a big honour and hopefully I can extend that record soon.
“It’s nice to be rewarded for the hard work on the training ground. You have some days when they all go in and some days when don’t and they’re the ones that count. To score two was very special.”
Villa were 4-0 down by the 58th minute after Danny Ings’ rocket, although the striker needed a scan on Sunday night after being forced off late on with a knee injury.
Tyrone Mings started Villa’s attempted fightback with a header before Ollie Watkins’ penalty and Jack Grealish’s strike – both in stoppage time – made the scoreline respectable for the hosts.
It was Villa’s second successive defeat after they won their opening four matches and defender Mings insists they must improve.
“We showed good fight to come back but we should never really have been in that position in the first place,” he told Villa TV.
“I don’t think it was really a 3-0 game at half-time but unfortunately we gave away fouls in dangerous areas and they capitalised.
“I’m sure that we will learn from it but it was very disappointing to concede in the manner that we did in the first half.
“It shows that there is a lot of work to do. We have shown great resilience and bounced back from poor runs last season, so we have to go and do it.”