Is he the pick of our summer transfers?

When a respected journalist such as Henry Winter goes out of his way to make a point, it’s usually worth noting.

Following our recent victory over Nottingham Forest and the highly significant three points that came with it, Winter took to his social media account to sing the praises of James Ward-Prowse and his two match-winning assists. "Cost £30m. Return: 9 assists, 2 goals in 15 games. So far. And he brings so much more than dead-ball wizardry, also work ethic, quiet leadership and passing. Low maintenance, high yield!"

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High praise indeed from The Times' Chief Football Writer. To think one West Ham account claimed JWP was no more than a one-trick-pony when he signed back in August - but that may have had more to do with the fact Ward-Prowse was very much a David Moyes signing.

The manager made getting the former Southampton man on board his personal crusade during the summer. JWP had spent all his playing career on the south coast with the Saints, making 344 appearances and scoring 49 goals. When they finally dropped out of the Premier League, after flirting with relegation several times previously, Moyes saw an opportunity to bring in a player he had long admired from afar.

At the time some questioned JWP’s age, suggesting we should be looking towards bringing in younger players for the future. It’s true at 29 he’s no spring chicken. But with age comes experience and know-how – exactly what Moyes was tapping into.

“He’s performed to a very high level in the Premier League,” said Moyes at the time. “His leadership qualities are obvious and another huge plus for us. Someone who drives the team on from the middle of the pitch.” Three months in and already we have seen what Moyes was referring to - and how influential JWP has become to the team.

Much has been made of two other summer additions – Edson Alvarez and Mohammed Kudus - each of whom cost more than JWP. They will, we hope, prove their full worth to the team.

The signs are good – although Alvarez maybe is a little reckless and headstrong at times with his tacking, while Kudus is undeniably exciting with the ball at his feet and the goal in his sights, but he can be a little self-indulgent and prone to giving up the ball in dangerous areas. Traits that I’m sure will be ironed out as the pair become more familiar with the demands of the Premier League.

Meanwhile JWP of course knows exactly what’s expected of him – and is delivering!

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The biggest mystery is why Gareth Southgate appears reluctant to recognise and reward JWP with the England call-up he deserves. Although with the injury to Jarrod Bowen while on England duty – plus the more worrying mishap to befall Michail Antonio while away with Jamaica – from a purely selfish point of view maybe West Ham are better off having their top players overlooked by their countries.

Interestingly while others are getting worked up on his behalf, JWP appears to take it all in his stride and has probably been enjoying the extra time off he’s had in this international break to play more of his beloved golf.

Much has been made of the impact Tim Steidten has had on our summer transfer dealings. He's been credited in some quarters with unearthing both Alvarez and Kudus – although that is open to debate – and ignores the role Mark Noble played in their eventual arrival at the London Stadium.

There is no such debate about Ward-Prowse. His arrival was very much down to Moyes – who despite several knock-backs refused to take “no” for an answer from Southampton, and kept knocking on the door until he got a “yes”.

There was no photo-call in the back of an expensive limo. That’s not the manager’s style – neither is it Ward-Prowse’s. Already it’s clear the two share a mutual respect for each other. Shades it might be said of the affinity Moyes had with Nobles – or maybe that’s too early to call.

Ironically it was reported JWP decided against taking Nobes’ former number 16 shirt - instead opting for the number 7 - a number synonymous with good fortune. We can certainly count it our good fortune that James Ward-Prowse is now a fully-fledged Hammer – and hopefully will remain that way for a number of seasons to come!

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