Ange Postecoglou says it is crucial for his system to have a player like James Maddison who can be unpredictable and see things that others cannot.

Maddison has hit the ground running at Tottenham and is already looking like he is likely to be one of the signings of the season across the Premier League.

The fact Spurs got him for just £40m is quite astounding when one considers some of the other fees for midfielders across the Premier League this summer.

The 26-year-old was one of the first players to arrive through the door in the Postecoglou era, and the Australian has now explained just why he was so keen on bringing the midfielder to the club.

Ange Postecoglou is a big James Maddison fan

The Spurs head coach told TNT Sports about Maddison: “In terms of the way we want to play and the football team we want to be, we have to have creative players who can do things through their own imagination and their own ability.

“So much of football today is structured that having circuit-breakers in there [is important]. Sometimes that’s people with capabilities whether that’s speed or power, or it can be people like Madders [Maddison] who maybe see things that others don’t.

“For me having players like that in your team can make you an effective attacking force. The unpredictability in his play, and he is always looking for the passes and the runs that maybe others don’t. He will always provoke rather than play safe and with the first few weeks with us, you’ve seen that already.

“Irrespective of how our opposition set up, he’s constantly looking at areas and ways to provoke the opposition and to try and hurt the opposition. For us, he gives us that extra strength when we’re going forward.”

James Maddison Ange Postecoglou

(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Maddison is part of a dying breed of footballers, with the game now moving away from creative number tens and towards better athletes, owing to the demands on players out of possession.

However, Postecoglou insisted that there is still room for players of the former Leicester star’s ilk as long as they are ready to work hard for the team.

He continued: “Football has become a lot more structured and organised. When one part of the game that gets squeezed out, that tends to be the creative side where you need a bit more freedom to make decisions. Invariably those type of players maybe don’t get as much of an opportunity when sides are so structured.

“I think there’s definitely room in every team for players who are circuit-breakers in the way you play and the opposition sets up and an unpredictability in the way they play. The days of just having a luxury player who plays one side of that game and that may be offensive side of the game, that is gone.

“With Madders, we need him to work hard defensively and he’s embraced that side of his role. He understands for him to continue to play and have an effect he needs to do both sides of the game. Just being good at the offensive side of the game, very few teams are going to carry those kind of players.”

The 57-year-old admitted that some of his favourite players of all-time are creative number tens, naming a Spurs legend among the list.

He added: “There’s all different types but you look at your classic players like Diego Maradona or [Johan] Cruyff,. Guys who would do things that maybe others who would look at the game a little bit differently.

“The club had Paul Gascoigne, the players who when the ball arrives at their feet people get genuinely excited because it’s in their players’ nature to look for something that’s going to be creative and hurt the opposition rather than the more basic elements of the game in terms of their reactions. You need a balance of both but those are the guys I think laid it out there.

“They’re the kind of players [I like] for the most part, especially in the midfield area. They’re exciting on the ball, lively with their feet. They always told you that player had something special about them.”

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In many ways, Maddison is perfectly suited to operate as the most advanced number eight in Ange’s system. The England international is evidently at his best when he is central and close to the box with runners on either side and beyond him.

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