Peter Crouch has told Match of the Day 2 that James Ward-Prowse was magnificent as Southampton edged an incredible game with Aston Villa on Sunday.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men secured the three points despite a late scare. The Saints were 4-0 up inside an hour, with Ward-Prowse playing a starring role.
The midfielder provided the assist for the opening goal. And he then proceeded to score twice to put the visitors 3-0 up at the break. Both goals came from superb free-kicks that left Emi Martinez with no chance.
But following the game, Crouch insisted that his overall performance was just as good as the two goals he scored.
“Their performance was typified by the captain. He was magnificent,” he told Match of the Day 2. “We know how deadly he is from set-pieces. It’s just undefendable at times. But I thought his all-round game was good, his energy and his enthusiasm.
“When you’ve got someone in your team like that who can deliver on a sixpence, it’s just so key. He did the dirty side of the work as well, him and Romeu were fantastic in the middle of the park. These free-kicks were just Beckham-esque.”
Ward-Prowse looks to be well on his way towards his best goal return in the Premier League. The 26-year-old now has three for the season, leaving him just five away from his best campaign yet.
But as Crouch notes, it would almost be unfair to only reflect on the contribution he makes from set-pieces. He has been a superb captain since Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg lost the armband ahead of the summer.
And Southampton are on a fantastic run of form right now. They have won four of their last five games in the Premier League, and now find themselves amongst the division’s top four in the early stages.