It may all be doom and gloom at Leicester City right now but James Maddison is proving to be the Foxes’ one beacon of light.
Maddison is currently at the very top of his game despite playing in a team bottom of the table and with their confidence shot to pieces.
But the cloud hovering over the King Power Stadium at present seems to have given the midfielder a new lease of life.
After a summer where teammates have had their heads turned by the overtures of other clubs, Maddison’s links with Newcastle United this summer has instead brought out an admirable side of him in the eyes of Leicester City supporters.
It has been business as usual for the 25-year-old despite speculation over a move to St James’ Park, who has displayed some of his best form since arriving at the club in 2018.
Maddison’s excellent run of form has seemingly gone under the radar with focus directed on the Foxes’ dismal plight and the uncertain future of boss Brendan Rodgers.
More importantly, it appears it has also escaped England boss Gareth Southgate who has once again left the midfielder out of his squad for this week’s Nations League ties with Italy and Germany.
His latest omission will hurt him – even if he doesn’t admit it – because there are few midfielders in better form than Maddison and the statistics back up his performances.
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Maddison has registered 10 goals and six assists in 2022. That’s level with Mohamed Salah and bettered by the likes of Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son and Kevin De Bruyne – all players playing in the Champions League.
Since the start of last season, Maddison has been involved in 24 goal contributions (15 goals, nine assists) – equal with Ivan Toney and below Salah, De Bruyne, Son and Kane.
Noticeably, there are no other England international midfielders close to the numbers Maddison has racked up which poses the question of why the Leicester City man continues to be overlooked?
When quizzed on his non-inclusion in the squad in the aftermath of the Foxes 6-2 thrashing at Tottenham on Saturday evening, Maddison offered the perfect response in what was a difficult setting.
“The England stuff is not at the forefront of my mind when we’re sat bottom of the Premier League but yeah, tough week,” said the Leicester City star.
When asked if he still believes he can make the World Cup squad Maddison explained that helping to pull Leicester out of the mire may help his future opportunities with the Three Lions.
“I’ve got to focus on the collective at Leicester at the moment, try and climb that table, keep putting in the performances like the first half today, get the results we need and ultimately lead me in better stead on that front [England].
The way in which Maddison conducted his interview drew plenty of plaudits, including talkSPORT’s Laura Woods.
Woods said: “James Maddison is a very good communicator and he’s very articulate. In a situation where Leicester are in trouble, he handled that interview very well. I think he’s beyond his years.”
Time is running out for Maddison to book his seat on the plane to Qatar in November but it may be a case of short-term pain for long-term gain.
While it looks likely that he will be watching the showpiece tournament in Qatar on television, something huge could be brewing for the midfielder.
A continuation of his excellent form could see him in contention for England beyond the World Cup and into Euro 2024 and a blockbuster move away from the King Power Stadium next summer.
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