By Pete Hanson

18th Sep, 2023 | 7:10am

Alphonse Areola wowed by 'incredible' James Ward-Prowse influence at West Ham

Alphonse Areola has been wowed by the “incredible” performances of James Ward-Prowse at West Ham this season.

England midfielder Ward-Prowse, 28, has been in fine form for the Hammers since arriving in the last transfer window from Southampton.

He has scored twice and chalked up three assists from just four Premier League appearances, and was on target as David Moyes’ side were beaten 3-1 by champions Manchester City at the London Stadium on Saturday (16 September).

Goalkeeper Areola was hugely impressive in that fixture but he paid tribute to the influence Ward-Prowse has had on the Hammers.

“You just have to look at his games, his stats. He’s helping us a lot, offensively, defensively, set-pieces,” he said in quotes reported by Mirror Football (18 September, page 13).

“He’s just incredible for us so we have to keep that positivity and go again.”

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Declan who?

When you lose a player as hugely influential as Declan Rice was to West Ham there is also a fear of how you are going to be able to replace them.

But the £105million fee they received from Arsenal for the club captain has been extremely wisely reinvested and nowhere better does that ring true than for Ward-Prowse who has settled into his new surroundings with ease.

It took a long, drawn-out process for West Ham to finally land Ward-Prowse but the chase has thus far been worth it for the hard-working midfielder, who already has five goal contributions from only four matches.

The Hammers lost for the first time in the league this season against a City side who look like they are in little mood to relinquish their grasp on the Premier League title.

But with the likes of Ward-Prowse fit and firing, there is no reason for the Hammers to be too downbeat. They can go again and on the evidence of the early matches of the season, they should be aiming high this term.

In other West Ham news, Jarrod Bowen has been mooted as a replacement for Mohamed Salah at Liverpool.