James Maddison: Has Leicester’s England hopeful failed his final World Cup audition?


Maddison was Leicester’s brightest spark on another tough day

James Maddison has spoken of England’s relegation recently, despite Leicester’s disappointing start to the season.

The 25-year-old showed exactly what his day has to offer in the recent 4-0 win over Nottingham Forest, but with England boss Gareth Southgate in the stands at the King Power Stadium. against Crystal Palace on Saturdayhe may fail his final audition.

It was a game Leicester needed to win after a nine-game winning streak, but nerves took their toll on the 0-0 stalemate. Maddison, as he usually does, showed glimpses of his class, but failed to propel his side to a second win this season, as he did the first.

A booking for simulation during the stoppage means he misses Thursday’s clash with Leeds, and Southgate will play before the provisional World Cup squad is named.

‘Maddison has things going on’

Five goals and two assists in nine Premier League games is an impressive return, considering the Foxes have struggled a lot with misfiring. His manager Brendan Rodgers said after the game that he hoped Southgate would consider his overall form.

“You can’t judge in this game,” Rodgers said. “I thought he had a good game, he was very creative. He’s a guy who plays out of position in the team [on the wing].

“He’s one of the most talented creative players in the league. He’s a top player at this level. Unfortunately at the end he’s obviously looking for a penalty.”

There was also collective support for Maddison from BT Sport’s pundits who, during their coverage of the match, particularly praised Maddison’s bravery and leadership.

Peter Crouch – who played for England at two World Cups – said: “At full-back, it takes a big character to constantly get the ball out and hunt and create things. Maddison isn’t playing safe, he’s trying to get through the lines, play progressive passes and that’s his ability it demands a lot.”

Former England and Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole said: “Maddison’s standards haven’t dropped. He was getting on the ball, trying to make things happen.

“Gareth will know who judges a player when the team is judged, especially when a player like Maddison needs a system around him to flourish.

“He’s producing a level of consistency but he’s in a poor team, which shows massive character. He feels like a leader at their club, he’s a big player.”

A potential issue is where he would fit into Southgate’s 4-3-3 system. Although this is the same formation that Rodgers employs at Leicester, Maddison cutting in from the right would be tasked with usurping Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling from wide positions.

Jack Grealish and Jarrod Bowen are also ahead of him in the pecking order, and while he is capable of operating in a midfield trio, Mason Mount and Jude Bellingham are pegged to start against Iran in the opening group game.

There’s no doubting Maddison’s quality, but with just one England cap three years ago, it’s hard to see how he steps up after a difficult day and no more chances to impress.

‘If Maddison can’t get in, what chance does Eze have?’

God bless you
Eze has eight caps for England Under-21s

For Crystal Palace, Eberechi Eze was lively, going close with a shot from the edge of the box in the first half. The 24-year-old uncapped midfielder has been tipped as a potential wildcard for England after recovering well from an Achilles injury.

He has two assists and a goal this season, but perhaps most importantly he has provided Patrick Vieira’s side with another attacking dimension to complement the threat posed by talisman Wilfried Zaha.

But former Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam says the competition is too great for Eze to be on the plane to Qatar.

“If Maddison can’t get in, what chance does Eze have? That’s the level of quality England have in that midfield area,” Adam told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“It will be very tough going to the World Cup. There is a lot of quality that is not involved in the team. You can only dictate with your performances.

“If he does incredibly well between now and the World Cup, then he’ll have a chance. He’ll be on the radar because England will need everyone.”

Eze and Maddison won’t have to wait long to see what they’re looking at. Southgate is expected to name a provisional squad on Thursday, October 20.

If they don’t make it, it will only be because of the number of quality players in the mix. It’s a nice headache for the England boss.

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