By George Overhill

18th Sep, 2023 | 6:40pm

James Ward-Prowse 'lost art' for West Ham United vs Manchester City delights pundit

James Ward-Prowse demonstrated a footballing “lost art” when he scored with a diving header for West Ham at the weekend to the delight of Tony Cascarino.

The pundit wrote in his Times column on the newspaper’s website (18 September) that the Irons’ summer signing did something “you rarely see these days” when he converted Vladimir Coufal’s cross to put his side ahead against the champions on Saturday and the ex-Republic of Ireland international “loved” it.

Pep Guardiola’s side ultimately came back to win the game 3-1 and inflict the Hammers’ first defeat of the campaign, but it was another strong contribution from the former Southampton captain since his £30million move [Sky Sports, 14 August].

Cascarino said: “I loved James Ward-Prowse’s goal against Manchester City with a diving header because you rarely see that these days. It’s a bit of a lost art — it’s a really effective way of scoring.

“A lot of players now are so technically confident they want to control a cross before shooting, but if you dive at the ball, it is past the goalkeeper before he’s set. I got a few in my career and I was particularly pleased with one for Gillingham against Millwall where I dived ahead of my marker, Sam Allardyce.”

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While City eventually overwhelmed West Ham this weekend it has still been a very positive start to the campaign, and Ward-Prowse has proven to be a key element of that.

The beginning of his career at the London Stadium has very much vindicated David Moyes’ intent on signing him, despite reported clashes between the manager and Tim Steidten during the summer over foreign and domestic targets.

With two goals and three assists already the 28-year-old is well on the way to repaying his transfer fee, and has helped soften the blow of Declan Rice leaving.

With Liverpool next up in between Europa Conference League and Carabao Cup fixtures the attempt to get back on track in the top flight will be against tough opposition again.

After losing the unbeaten record to the treble winners this weekend it might risk derailing the momentum to have a second negative Premier League result in a row.

So a decent victory in Europe midweek and at least avoiding defeat next weekend should be the objective now, and Ward-Prowse is bound to be central to securing it.

In other West Ham news, an ongoing contract situation has been mooted to become an issue at the club if it persists.