Should James Maddison make his England debut during the coming European Championship qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo, it will perhaps represent overdue reward for a player who has fast become one of the Premier League’s most creative forces. Since making his debut for Leicester, he has created more chances in the English top flight than anyone else.
The 22-year-old, Norwich’s player of the year in the Championship in 2017/18, followed his £20m transfer that summer to Leicester with seven goals and seven assists during his first Premier League season. He spent much of that campaign playing as a number 10, but since Brendan Rodgers’ appointment as Foxes manager his undoubted talents have been used more towards the left wing. This has likely contributed to his return to Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
“He is a number 10 and, at the moment, we have not been playing with a 10,” Southgate once said of an individual who had previously featured in his squad without making an appearance. If Maddison is to capitalise on his latest involvement with the national team and push for selection at Euro 2020, he will have to overcome significant competition. Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli, Ross Barkley, Jadon Sancho and Mason Mount – like Maddison and Tyrone Mings, also uncapped but selected in the latest squad – are among those pushing for similar creative roles behind Harry Kane.