Southampton’s Set-piece maestro James Ward-Prowse takes contender for worst penalty of 2023

Despite being regarded as one of the finest set-piece takers in global football, even the dependable right foot of James Ward-Prowse can falter on occasion.

Southampton found themselves facing Goztepe SK, a Turkish second-division team, on Saturday night at the Bornova Aziz Kocaoğlu Stadium in Izmir, Turkey, during their pre-season campaign.

The Saints encountered difficulties in the initial stages of the match, with Russell Martin’s team even facing the possibility of being two goals down.

Following a 26th-minute goal against them, the recently-relegated Southampton had an opportunity to equalize in the 57th minute, with James Ward-Prowse, who is typically reliable, stepping up from the penalty spot.

However, in what can be considered one of the most uncharacteristic moments of his career thus far, the 28-year-old fired the ball over the crossbar after losing his footing, leaving fans surprised by the uncharacteristic miss.

Charly Alcaraz equalised for Southampton after the hour mark, although Ward-Prowse’s unfortunate effort from the spot was the biggest talking point on social media.

Here’s how social media reacted to his penalty miss.

One fan said: “Bro thought it was a free kick,” while another commented: “JWP with officially the worst penalty in the history of world football.”

A third wrote: “My man helped him up then started laughing.”

A fourth added: “I remember him saying it is easier for him to score a free kick than scoring a Pk. Bro thought it was a free kick.”

Back in March, Ward-Prowse admitted he would rather take a free-kick than a penalty after he missed a spot-kick in their Premier League clash against Leicester City.

“I’d rather a free-kick, to be honest. But there you go, sometimes you score them and sometimes you don’t,” he told Sky Sports.

“Fair play to the keeper, he read it this time. But the main thing is we came away with three points and that is better than any goal you can score.”

Ward-Prowse has been heavily linked with a move this summer. Ahead of the summer window opening, it was suggested that Aston Villa, West Ham and Tottenham were thought to be keeping tabs on the midfielder.

Transfer expertEkrem Konurwent on to suggest that the Championship club want £52 million for the 28-year-old this summer.

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