21 Dec 2019

Gareth Southgate hails James Maddison ahead of Euro 2020 qualifiers

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England manager Gareth Southgate has hailed James Maddison ahead of the country’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Montenegro and Kosovo. The Leicester City midfielder has previously been called up to the senior squad on four occasions but he has failed to make an appearance with Southgate relying on experienced faces such as Ross Barkley.

Speaking ahead of the forthcoming games, Southgate has praised the ability of the former Norwich City man and believes the 22-year-old can prove an influential player for the Three Lions, he told: “He’s a player of outstanding technical ability. He has an eye for an incisive pass, his set-play delivery is world class – absolutely top.”

“With his club now he is in a position as a number eight that he’s really learning more and more about work off the ball. His club are pressing in the way we want to press, pretty much. I know Brendan has a focus on that. In those areas, work off the ball is as important as with it. Especially the higher level of opponents and tighter games. He’s developing well and he has a lot to offer us.”

England are currently at the top of their qualifying group for Euro 2020 and they hold a three-point advantage over second-placed Czech Republic. On paper, the Three Lions are strong enough to beat both Montenegro and Kosovo but they can’t take things for granted after the shock defeat at Czech Republic during the last international break.

Meanwhile, Maddison may not be assured with a starting spot but he should definitely be considered as a game-changing option off the bench. The Foxes ace faces direct competition from Mason Mount, who has enjoyed a superb breakthrough season with Chelsea under Frank Lampard. Mount has contributed four goals and an assist for the Blues this term. In comparison, Maddison has amassed six goals and two assists for the Foxes.