‘Madison is no longer the forgotten man of England’
James Maddison’s time as a forgotten man in England came to an end when it mattered most, his long-standing impressive form running in memory of coach Gareth Southgate was just in time for his inclusion in the World Cup squad in Qatar.
The 25-year-old Leicester City midfielder played just 34 minutes of his first international game against Montenegro in his pre-pandemic days in November 2019.
Since then, nothing – and Madison himself seemed ready to disappoint the World Cup omission.
However, just like so much of his brilliant work in Leicester’s midfield this season, Maddison timed him perfectly – and the bigger question surrounding Southgate’s announcement with his inclusion has been answered.
Seeing Madison’s name on Southgate’s list, when it came, was an even bigger surprise than if he had been left out since he had been ignored for so long and others, like Manchester City, watched. Phil Foden And the Jack Grealish and Chelsea Mason Mount And the Conor Gallagher, Join a squad backed by the development and maturity of the great Borussia Dortmund player Jude Bellingham.
It will be a delight to many of his fans that Madison is on board, this effervescent character earns his place in the purest way possible – through the sheer weight of performance and continued quality.
Maddison is also a benefactor, along with the Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson, The unique timing of the World Cup. Had they been held in the summer, it is unlikely they would have been included, as kicking off the show at a later date gives them the opportunity to build a portfolio of business in the early stages of the season before the forced break.
Maddison clearly still faces a battle to win a starting place, but Southgate admits he will bring something of the “tenth factor” to the England squad with his free-kick ability and his eye on the game-changing moment.
The England The coach said: “James Madison got it right. We think he can give us something different. He plays like any of the attacking players in this country.”
Southgate had to make decisions elsewhere and showed the loyalty that became his hallmark with the selection of one of the stars of England’s march to the Euro 2020 final, Calvin Phillips.
Phillips was injured in a turbulent final season at Leeds United and has not been better off since his £45m summer move to Manchester City. He has just recovered from shoulder surgery and his contribution so far this season has been four posts with a total of 54 minutes of playing time.
Southgate himself admitted: “We don’t have much coverage in this area. We feel it’s a risk worth taking.”
There was controversy over the selection of the right-back for Liverpool Trent Alexander Arnold, Given Southgate’s apparent reluctance to use him, but Chelsea’s injury to Reece James made that argument – and while he is unlikely to start, his natural ability could be vital, especially as another right-sided defender, such as Manchester City. Kyle Walker Recovering from hip surgery.
Arsenal Ben White He is yet another winner, who has been rewarded for his stellar season so far allied with his versatility in an England defense who has doubts about a soft position.
Southgate, as expected, maintains faith in the Manchester United captain Harry Maguire Despite his error-strewn display in Wembley’s 3-3 draw with Germany in September, and a poor form at club level that made him withdraw from coach Eric Ten Hag.
Everton Conor Cody He keeps his place and that of Tottenham Eric Dyer It is included but that still seems England’s weak area. Milan’s Fikayo Tomori and Crystal Palace’s Marc Guehy miss the win.
While his selection means Madison’s delight, there is more disappointment for Southampton captain James Ward Bruce, who is out again after suffering a similar fate at the recent Euros.
Gallagher, 22-year-old Chelsea player,Who made four full caps for England, is a surprising inclusion but made a good impression on Southgate previously. He has stood out in 17 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea this season with unimpressive stats for just one goal and one assist, but this massive act of faith from Southgate will make this talented youngster determined to pay back should he receive the call in Qatar.
Southgate said: “He is great at pressing the ball. I think there will be moments in matches where we will have to use different attributes. We feel he could be this type of player. He is inexperienced but he is the target threat.”
Marcus Rashford Signs of renewal at Manchester United have earned him a place among the strikers, but the main attacking appeal is the selection of Newcastle’s Wilson as the natural deputy to the captain. Harry Kane.
Wilson, who is 30 and has made four appearances for England, is of undoubted quality, but his checkered injury record has been a concern. Southgate appears confident of this result, and his level is not in question as he played a pivotal role in Newcastle’s rise to third in the Premier League under Eddie Howe.
That means Brentford’s Evan Toni disappointment, including his disappointment in the Nations League away matches away to Italy and at home to Germany in September, as well as Roma’s Tammy Abraham.
Southgate is a fan of Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin and watched him score in the win over Crystal Palace recently, but he has barely played in the past 12 months and has not been a serious contender, his fragility confirmed by the hamstring injury he suffered in the loss to Leicester City and the subsequent disclosure of a dislocated shoulder.
Can this England win the World Cup?
They will be among those mentioned in the cables, but there are real questions about whether they can go further than they did in Russia in 2018, when the surprise race to the semi-finals ended in defeat to Croatia after extra time in Moscow.
There is plenty of quality in midfield and attacking areas, but again there will be a huge reliance on Captain Kane, who will have his sights set on beating Wayne Rooney’s England record of 53 goals in Qatar where he currently stands at 51 from 75 games. .
England’s weaknesses will come to light in defence, as Maguire will need to show the form that made him shine at the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020 rather than the miserable number he has cut on numerous occasions since then with Manchester United.
The big talking point is the selection of Maddison, a real quality worker who falls into the “bolter” category – a player who has made the late rise to the team beyond his impressive form in the weeks leading up to the tournament – and who will hold the hopes of the many supporters who championed his cause.
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