Sunday 22 September 2019

Rodgers backs Maddison to prove his worth to England boss

The Leicester midfielder has been called up for Euro 2020 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo.

James Maddison earned high praise from Brendan Rodgers (Richard Sellers/PA)
James Maddison earned high praise from Brendan Rodgers (Richard Sellers/PA)

By Nick Mashiter, PA

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has backed James Maddison to make an impact for England.

The midfielder links up with the Three Lions this week for their Euro 2020 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo.

Maddison has returned to the senior squad for the first time since his maiden call-up in October last year.

He is yet to make his England debut but Rodgers expects the 22-year-old to prove his worth to Gareth Southgate.

“He doesn’t need to force it. Just play well for Leicester, that’s all you can ever control. When he goes there he’ll show he’s a top player,” he said.

“Gareth has a lot of really good players so it’s just a case of going and doing your best and fitting into whatever the team needs.

“He’s got intelligence. What he’s improving on all the team is his tactical idea of the game.

“He has incredible ability and he’s making improvements to his game so he’s a really exciting player. You can see the quality of his passing. He’s a big talent.

“I just said, ‘go and enjoy it. Don’t think about Leicester, just go away and play for your country and we’ll see you when you get back’.”

Maddison helped the Foxes to a 3-1 win over Bournemouth on Saturday as Jamie Vardy’s double and Youri Tielemans’ goal maintained their unbeaten start.

And Rodgers is pleased three-goal Vardy – who scored a stunning lob to open the scoring – is staying with the Foxes following his decision to retire from international duty last year.

He added: “He can have a nice rest now for a few days and then he’ll be in working next week. He’s a brilliant striker.”

Callum Wilson did level for the Cherries, who are now 15th after one win in their opening four games, leaving boss Eddie Howe frustrated with their start.

He said: “Leicester was always going to be what decided my interpretation of the start.

“It was always going to be dependant on Saturday, we’re slightly disappointed with how we started.

“After two games we looked strong and good but the Manchester City match was always going to be difficult.”

PA Media

The Left Wing: Ireland's fullback dilemma, World Cup bonding and the squad standby list

Also in Sport