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5 best young free kick specialists at the moment

  • Is Hakan Calhanoglu the new dead ball specialist? Anxiety fills the air, thousands of fans inside a stadium hold their breath and millions around ...
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Modified 20 Mar 2019, 14:54 IST

Is Hakan Calhanoglu the new dead ball specialist? Anxiety fills the air, thousands of fans inside a stadium hold their breath and millions around the world wait in apprehension. Time has stood still as the player takes a few steps back, scanning for gaps in the wall contemplating the right angle – the right amount of force! The deafening roar of joy or the hushed cry of disappointment is imminent.Fans often experience an emotional override during the moments preceding and succeeding a free-kick. There is nothing quite like a well-executed set-piece that jumps over a wall, wrong foots a goalkeeper before squeezing through the top corner. Then again, few disappointments match the grim sight of your favourite player appearing exasperated after hitting a wayward free-kick.Perfecting the art of free-kick requires intelligence and a good deal of intuition. From Giuseppe Meazza in the 1930’s to Rivelino in the 70’s to Juninho Pernambucano in the 21st century, fans have bore witness to some of the greatest minds the game has ever seen.Today, we take a look at the five best young free kick specialists who have the potential to be counted among the aforementioned greats in the future. 

#5 James Ward-Prowse

James Ward-Prowse is another in the long line of talents unearthed by Southampton in their illustrious history of producing and developing fine young players.

The 20-year-old has already drawn comparisons with England legend David Beckham, who is not a bad free-kick taker himself. Ward-Prowse has confessed that he is a big fan of Beckham and has watched videos of each and every one of the former England captain’s freekicks.

The Southampton youngster has represented England in all youth levels from the U17s to the U21s and his performances for both club and country are gradually quelling the distorted perception that English football cannot produce technically sound footballers.

He scored his first goal for the England U21’s against Lithuania back in 2013 and followed it up with another free-kick two days later against San Marino.

Ward-Prowse’s incredible ability stands out from the centre of the midfield and his greatest strength lies in his ability from free-kicks. Dynamic and equipped with a varied range of passes, the 20-year-old is one to look out for in the future and if he keeps on delivering the way he is under Mauricio Pochettino, a call up from Roy Hodgson for 2016’s European Championships would not be that surprising. 

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Published 08 Sep 2015, 17:29 IST
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