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‘Unbelievable’: Kevin Nolan shares what he admitted to West Ham’s James Ward-Prowse

Kevin Nolan has lauded the qualities of West Ham United’s summer signing, James Ward-Prowse.

It took a long time coming, but David Moyes got the players he wanted this summer, including the capture of set-piece specialist James Ward-Prowse from relegated Southampton.

The 28-year-old, despite his strong form for West Ham United this season, was recently snubbed of an England recall, which surprised even Kevin Nolan.

The West Ham coach admitted that he even told the midfielder himself that he didn’t realise how good he was after seeing him up close and personal, as he told BBC Radio 5 Live Sport.

With James Ward-Prowse missing out on Gareth Southgate’s England squad, it was the likes of Kalvin Phillips, who is playing very little for Manchester City, and Jordan Henderson, now in Saudi Arabia, getting picked instead.

On one hand, a key player for the Hammers is getting rested. But, on the other, his form deserves to be recognised.

Liverpool FC v West Ham United - Premier League
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Ward-Prowse England snub

“I’ll be honest with you and I told James this,” said Nolan. “I didn’t realise how quality he was.

“When you see him day in and day out, he’s a quality player. Really studies the game, and knows the game inside and out.

“He never makes bad decisions. Everything he does is calculated. Puts it in the right area. Even when he is in trouble, he puts the ball in where it’s not going to affect us. It will affect us more and get us up the pitch. He makes so many really, really good decisions. It’s unbelievable.

“He’s just an intelligent footballer. I am surprised he’s not there (in the England squad) – it was disappointing for the lad. But he will shrug it off and perform on Sunday.”

ACF Fiorentina v West Ham United FC - UEFA Europa Conference League Final 2022/23
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Ward-Prowse in Europe

It wasn’t so long ago that a certain James Maddison wasn’t getting picked by Gareth Southgate whilst playing for Leicester City.

But even for a struggling Leicester side, there came a point when he just couldn’t be ignored and he made the cut for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

That’s how Ward-Prowse needs to think about it. All that matters is whether he gets picked for Euro 2024.

It’s a shame for Ward-Prowse that such form isn’t being rewarded, but there is only so much you can do.

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