After being forced to watch on from the sidelines during last year’s World Cup in Qatar, James Maddison has admitted he is keen to be in England’s starting eleven when the next international tournament rolls around.
That is perhaps a testament to the quality of attacking options that Gareth Southgate has at his disposal.
However, the 26-year-old has certainly improved his chances of adding to those three caps now that he has made a high-profile move to Spurs and he will be hoping to start for the Three Lions in their upcoming Euro qualifiers against Ukraine and Scotland.
Maddison’s dream of playing in the World Cup was taken away from him as he suffered a knee injury on the eve of the tournament in Qatar, and the midfielder admitted that it was quite hard for him to take at the time.
James Maddison intends to step up for England
When asked about that moment, he told The Evening Standard: “Gareth said he knew it had been tough, but he was really impressed with the way I had carried myself round the group.
“Him putting his arm around me and saying that as we were leaving stuck with me. There was obviously a little bit of [resentment]. I remember being in my room after I got my knock and thinking, ‘Why now?’ But I absolutely loved being there.”
The former Leicester City man remarked that he uses the injury as motivation to drive him on ahead of the upcoming international tournaments.
He continued: “I think a younger version of myself would have been a bit more sulky, a bit more moody, a bit more moany. But I thought, you know what, I am at the World Cup for my country. That’s why I am hungry to be in the next one. I want that again — but I want to be playing this time.”
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If Maddison keeps playing the way he is for Spurs, there is no doubt that he will be a guaranteed starter for England in next summer’s European Championship.
While Southgate has a number of talented attacking midfielders at his disposal, the Tottenham man provides more of a direct goal threat than the likes of Mason Mount, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden do.
A midfield trio of Rice, Bellingham and Maddison would undoubtedly be up there with the best in world football.
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