Former England manager tells Southgate ‘it can only get better’ if one star gets an opportunity

James Maddison, Mason Mount, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, England, November 2022 Credit: Alamy
James Maddison, Mason Mount, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, England, November 2022 Credit: Alamy

Former England Sam Allardyce thinks things can “only get better” for James Maddison if he gets an opportunity to play at the World Cup.

One of the main talking points ahead of England’s squad release for the World Cup was whether Maddison would make it. Indeed, the Leicester City man has played a starring role all season.

In 13 league games this term, he has scored seven goals and provided four assists. He has had a hand in nearly half of his side’s goals.

Were it not for him, the Foxes would be in a much more precarious position. They were scrapping at the bottom end of the table not long ago, but after four wins in their last five league games – in which Maddison has been involved in four goals – they are now 13th.

The 25-year-old has been one of the most in-form players across the whole of the Premier League of late.

His creative nature and ability to score and assist meant he looked a good shout for the England squad.

That is all despite the fact he has only ever played 34 minutes for his country to this point.

In spite of his lack of international experience, his influence at club level prevailed, as Southgate named him in the squad.

Maddison can progress even more with England chance

Former England manager Allardyce believes Maddison has been the main influence at Leicester this season.

“His stats stand up and he’s in a struggling team by the way, they’ve struggled all season haven’t they,” he said on No Tippy Tappy Football.

“He’s been the one getting them out of trouble now and climbing up that league. But they went, was it ten games with one point I think?”

He also feels the midfielder can take another step if he gets a chance at the World Cup with England.

“He’s got all those assists and goals so it can only get better from his point of view, if he gets a chance. Whether he gets a chance in the starting line-up is another matter,” he added.

Indeed, he could have a breakout tournament if he does get an opportunity. Most Premier League fans are fully aware of his quality, and he could showcase that to the world if given a platform in the World Cup.

Souness believes Maddison needs to play

Graeme Souness also chipped in, as he feels the Foxes man should be in the England side during the tournament.

“Maddison, I’m an enormous fan of his, he had to be in the squad,” he said.

“We’re playing football that will nick games, not playing football that will get everyone on the edge of their seats.

“That’s why I would play Maddison, I think Maddison is the best of any attacking midfielder or any midfield player in terms of assists and scoring goals.”

Not only does he believe he is a quality player, but Souness feels Maddison has the character to be a star, too.

“I like James Maddison. I met him on holiday last year in Portugal and he’s got a bit of mischief about him,” he added.

“He’s got a sparkle about him, he’s got something that I find attractive in players. He’s got a bit of mischief. Mischief can sort of take you from a scale of one to ten. He’s a nine.”

It will be a shame if Maddison does not get onto the pitch during the World Cup. He could be the type of player that could turn a game England’s way, which could serve them well, especially in the latter stages.

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