100 chances created. That’s the remarkable tally that James Maddison clocked up in the Premier League this season. It beat even the very best in the division as he topped the list for creativity.
Yet somehow, that isn’t enough to get you in the England team. This side has been heralded as one picked on form and merit, rather than the club you play for. However, that certainly hasn’t been the case with Maddison, who rather unfairly has been left out of the squad for the Nations League in June.
For all too long, the Three Lions have lacked a player like the 22-year-old. He’s someone capable of grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck and injecting a sense of life into proceedings from a central area.
But despite his exclusion, it can serve as a positive going forward and could take the Foxes man to a whole new level.
When it comes to young English players there aren’t too many people with better knowledge and expertise than Gareth Southgate.
You only need to look at the chances he’s given the likes of Jadon Sancho and Callum Hudson-Odoi this season.
Maddison was called into the squad to face Croatia and Spain last October but didn’t actually play, so it’s clear he’s on the mind of the former Middlesbrough boss.
After missing out, the attacking midfielder will likely go to the U21 European Championship instead this summer. England are arguably one of the favourites and with the Leicester midfielder in their ranks, that will only be elevated further.
Southgate has made a brave call in not selecting him for the senior side but it could be a masterstroke.
He knows the benefits of a youth tournament and the experience some of the country’s very best young talents have gained in the past has been significant.
England’s World Cup wins at U17 and U20 level have seen players go onto thrive in the Premier League and also selected for the senior national side.
As such, Maddison’s likely appearance at the U21 Euros could be a game changer for him.
That tournament will arguably be even more competitive than the Nations League and will also boast some incredibly strong teams, specifically France and Spain.
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Maddison is likely to be a part of England’s plans going forward and the more tournament experience their young players gain the better.
With the Nations League only being held over the space of a few days, he’d learn far more from a month long competition. On this occasion, Southgate’s got it right.