Beckham, Ward-Prowse, Ronaldo: Who's the best set-piece taker in PL history?

James Ward-Prowse might just be the best free-kick taker in world football right now.

Last weekend, Southampton‘s captain scored yet another brilliant goal from a set-piece to salvage a 1-1 draw for his team away at Leeds United.

Ward-Prowse has now claimed second spot outright on the list of players with the most free-kick goals in Premier League history thanks to his 13th successful strike.

Only Manchester United and England legend David Beckham sits above him with 18 to his name.

Given how lethal Ward-Prowse has been from free-kicks over the past 12 months or so, it’s highly likely he’ll break the record by the end of the 2022/23 season – if he avoids serious injury.

So that begs the question; who is the better set-piece taker of the pair?

Well, Alan Shearer and Micah Richards have answered that very question on the BBC Match of the Day podcast.

The pair of pundits have each named who they believe are the 10 greatest set-piece takers the Premier League has ever seen and both have picked Beckham as their number one ahead of Ward-Prowse.

Check out the top 10s in full here…

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Shearer’s top 10

10. Rory Delap

9. David Silva

8. Trent Alexander-Arnold

7. Cristiano Ronaldo

6. Alan Shearer

5. Matt Le Tissier

4. Gianfranco Zola

3. Thierry Henry

2. James Ward-Prowse

  1. David Beckham

Richards’ top 10

10. Rory Delap

9. David Silva

8. Gianfranco Zola

7. Alan Shearer

6. Cristiano Ronaldo

5. Thierry Henry

4. James Ward-Prowse

3. Matt Le Tissier

2. Trent Alexander-Arnold

  1. David Beckham

Delap in both top 10s over the likes of Laurent Robert, Kevin De Bruyne, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Ian Harte and other famous set-piece specialists? Interesting, very interesting.

Those long throw-ins were a lethal weapon at Stoke City to be fair…

Richards’ list is arguably the bolder of the two, as he’s ranked Ward-Prowse only fourth-best, behind both Alexander-Arnold and Le Tissier.

Ronaldo’s place on both lists is slightly surprising given his free-kick struggles in recent times, although we must not forget how terrifyingly good he was from those situations during his first spell at United.

The Portuguese superstar has scored some of the greatest set-piece goals of modern times, including his famous knuckleball effort against Portsmouth that left David James bamboozled.

So, yeah, maybe Ronaldo is worthy of a place in the top 10, as are Henry, Zola and Shearer himself.

We’re not 100% convinced about Silva, though…

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