James Ward-Prowse hailed as ‘special’ after the £30million signing’s ‘dream debut’ helps West Ham shock Chelsea

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James Ward-Prowse hailed as ‘special’ after the £30million signing’s ‘dream debut’ helps West Ham shock Chelsea

  • Ward-Prowse set up two of West Ham’s goals in their 3-1 victory against Chelsea 
  • The midfielder admitted he had enjoyed a ‘dream debut’ at the London Stadium 
  • WATCH: ‘It’s All Kicking Off’ – Episode 1 – Mail Sport’s brand new football show

Ashley Cole hailed James Ward-Prowse as ‘special’ after the midfielder provided two assists on his debut to help West Ham beat Chelsea 3-1 at the London Stadium.

Ward-Prowse enjoyed a perfect start to his West Ham career after completing a £30million move from his boyhood club Southampton last week.

The midfielder’s set piece delivery was key to West Ham’s opener, with Nayef Aguerd heading in his corner seven minutes into the contest.

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Ward-Prowse also provided the assist for Michail Antonio’s goal in the second half, with his clipped pass finding the forward, who fired beyond Robert Sanchez to restore the Hammers’ lead.

The 28-yard-old was replaced for the final 10 minutes by fellow summer signing Edson Alvarez.

James Ward-Prowse provided two assists to help West Ham earn a 3-1 win over rivals Chelsea

James Ward-Prowse provided two assists to help West Ham earn a 3-1 win over rivals Chelsea

Ashley Cole hailed Ward-Prowse as a 'special player' and believes he will improve West Ham

Ashley Cole hailed Ward-Prowse as a ‘special player’ and believes he will improve West Ham

Ward-Prowse enjoyed a dream West Ham debut following his £30m move from Southampton

Ward-Prowse enjoyed a dream West Ham debut following his £30m move from Southampton

Ward-Prowse’s influence on the match was hailed by Cole, who claimed the 28-year-old deserves greater recognition.

‘Ward-Prowse is not recognised as high as he should be,’ Cole said on Sky Sports.

‘I think he’s going to improve West Ham. They’re adding someone very special.’

Fellow pundit Jamie Redknapp claimed Ward-Prowse can help to fill the void left by Declan Rice, following his £105million move to Arsenal this summer.

Redknapp insisted the midfielder has more to his game than his much praised dead ball delivery. 

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‘He brings so much quality, he brings world class delivery, he’s brilliant at pressing. Rice perhaps doesn’t have that pass in his locker. £30million, when you look at that price tag, he’s going to add a lot of quality, he’s a brilliant signing,’ Redknapp said.

‘I think we talk so often about his set pieces but I think it gets almost disrespectful because what he does apart from that, he presses people well he’s very comfortable on the ball he can make interesting passes.

‘I’m just a massive fan of him he’s improved so much throughout the years and has been vital to Southampton.

‘He will have left with a heavy heart but this is a brilliant opportunity for him to play at a big club like West Ham and will provide good opportunities, goals and assists.

‘Especially a big team like West Ham, with his deliveries it gives you such a threat.’

Nayef Aguerd had put West Ham ahead at the London Stadium from Ward-Prowse's corner

Nayef Aguerd had put West Ham ahead at the London Stadium from Ward-Prowse’s corner

Ward-Prowse admitted to Sky Sports that he had enjoyed a ‘dream debut’ and revealed the West Ham squad had worked on the set pieces ahead of the match.

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The England international added that he will focus on his own attributes at West Ham, rather than attempting to be a direct replacement for Rice. 

‘All that was missing was a direct free-kick. A dream debut, it was a special day,’ Ward-Prowse said. ‘It’s a big strength of mine, we worked on it during it the week. It was a good finish.

‘You can feel the stadium pick up in energy when we get a set-piece. It’s all about delivery, it’s always got to be in the right area, they’ve got to have belief to score.

‘We know we’re playing against a very good team but we showed real resilience and we took our chances.

‘I’ve tried to do it previous systems, I know Antonio’s strength is to get in behind.

‘Everybody knows what Declan [Rice] did for this club, he was phenomenal. I’ve come here thinking what James Ward-Prowse can bring to this club.

‘By their own standards they weren’t happy [with last season] but they saved it with a terrific European win. This club is fantastic and to be on that journey is a real honour.’

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