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Leicester’s James Maddison not giving up hope of making England World Cup squad

James Maddison has his eyes on the World Cup (John Walton/PA)
James Maddison has his eyes on the World Cup (John Walton/PA)

Leicester midfielder James Maddison has not given up hope of making England’s World Cup squad.

Maddison has only made one appearance for England and has not been called up by Gareth Southgate since 2019.

But the in-form playmaker, who scored twice in the Foxes’ 4-0 thrashing of Nottingham Forest in the Premier League on Monday night, still hopes to force his way into Southgate’s 26-man squad for this winter’s tournament in Qatar.

James Maddison scores his second goal against Nottingham Forest
James Maddison scores his second goal against Nottingham Forest (Tim Goode/PA)

Speaking to Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football after Leicester’s first win of the season, Maddison said: “It’s been a bit of a weird position for me, to be honest, because we’ve been bottom of the league and results have not been going our way but I’ve almost been as confident as I’ve ever been in my career.

“I don’t remember playing better than I have or feeling as well as I have.

“But (making the England squad) is an ambition of mine, a goal of mine.

“I’m a football man, I watch all the games, I watch international football and an opportunity at that level would be something that I desire and I almost know that I’d have an impact.

“I’ll keep working hard and I’ve got to have the mindset that I’ve got to force my way in.

“The players at the big clubs who are in at the minute, they’re good players, they’re top players, and I’m not naive to that, but I think there could be a space for me.

“So I’ll keep working hard and keep producing performances like that tonight for Leicester, for the gaffer here and see where it leaves me.”

Sky pundit Gary Neville asked for Maddison’s reaction to claims he “wouldn’t be a good traveller” if he was not a regular in the team and he responded: “I’ve never seen anything like that but that’s almost questioning my personality and my professionalism which is obviously quite insulting.”

Maddison would need to compete with the likes of Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Mason Mount for a place in Southgate’s preferred system.

But the 25-year-old insisted: “I know there’s top, top players in the forward areas. But I have a self-belief and a confidence that I’m a top player and I can be in that category.”

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers added in his post-match press conference: “I would really hope there’s a place for a player like that in a squad.

James Maddison shone on Monday night in Leicester's big win
James Maddison shone on Monday night in Leicester’s big win (Tim Goode/PA)

“Someone so talented and such a hard worker and such a team player.

“Phil Foden is an amazing talent. Mason Mount I really like. Jack Grealish is a different type, but this is a player who can come into a game and change the course of a game.

“How would he travel with the squad? He would be amazing. He’s very much a team player.

“If he wasn’t starting a game, to have that on the bench to come into maybe a tight World Cup game is what a team like England needs.”