Sport Soccer

Thursday 19 September 2019

Rodgers is Madd about England prospect James after Foxes blunt Blades

United boss Wilder hailed two exceptional finishes.

Brendan Rodgers expects James Maddison, pictured, will have caught the England manager’s eye (Richard Sellers/PA)
Brendan Rodgers expects James Maddison, pictured, will have caught the England manager’s eye (Richard Sellers/PA)

By Mark Walker, PA

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers has no doubt James Maddison will have impressed watching England boss Gareth Southgate in his side’s 2-1 win at Sheffield United.

England take on Bulgaria and Kosovo in Euro 2020 qualifiers next month and Maddison, 22, turned in another classy display at Bramall Lane as Leicester secured their first win of the season.

Maddison set up Jamie Vardy for the striker’s first goal of the campaign and after Oli McBurnie had headed the Blades’ second-half equaliser, Foxes substitute Harvey Barnes crashed home a stunning winner.

“There’s not too many players who can play the pass he (Maddison) made for the first goal,” Rodgers said.

“His touch and his through ball were sensational. Jamie doesn’t even need a touch, it comes right into his path and he does what he does best, it was a wonderful finish.

“He’s at a really high level this early in the season is James. He’s a player of quality and I’m sure Gareth will have been having a good look at him.”

The Blades, beaten for the first time since winning promotion back to the top flight, had deserved to get back on terms through McBurnie’s excellent header.

But Barnes’ blistering half-volley settled it, six minutes after he had stepped off the bench to replace recent signing Dennis Praet.

“Harvey’s a big talent,” Rodgers said. “He’s been great in training and he’s going to be a very important player for us.

“To come into the game and find that technique, after not being on for that long. He was a real threat when he came into the game.

“I’m sure they will show that on ‘Match of the Day’. I’ll look tonight, it was a brilliant strike.”

Leicester’s win lifted them up to third in the table following draws with Wolves and Chelsea in their opening two matches.

“It was a great win for us,” Rodgers added. “Over the last couple of years they’ve had great momentum here Sheffield United.

“It was a performance with good resilience. We showed good quality, but you’ve also got to show your mentality here.”

Blades boss Chris Wilder could not hide his disappointment after his side fell to a rare home defeat under his tenure.

“We have to stick to how we play regardless of who we play,” Wilder said. “That was disappointing.

“But we have been undone by two really good goals, especially the second one.”

Wilder conceded his side had come off second best, adding: “We weren’t composed enough in possession in my point of view in the first half.

“But you’ve seen the two finishes today, they’re just exceptional finishes aren’t they? Maybe in the Championship that might be 0-0.

“But I thought they were the better side. They were the better side in both boxes. They were better than us when they had to defend properly.

“Even though we were better second half, they were generally better in possession as well.”

PA Media

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