5 ft 9 Leicester ace has just opened the door for potential new role next season – opinion

This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…

James Maddison’s first season with Leicester was outstanding.

Progressing through the ranks at Coventry, the creative midfielder shone for Norwich before finally getting his shot at Premier League football.

It was well worth the wait as the 22-year-old scored seven goals and claimed seven assists. In the process, he also made a total of 100 key passes across league action.

However, that wasn’t enough to earn him a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the Nations League.

Given their lack of creativity, this was rather surprising. Instead, he was trusted with being one of the senior men in Aidy Boothroyd’s England side for the European U21 Championships.

Defensive errors led to countless opposition goals as England picked up a solitary point, finishing third in their group.

For all the talent they possess, they somehow failed to advance.

Maddison started all three games but it wasn’t until the final match of the group that he was really able to stamp his authority on the competition.

With Manchester City’s Phil Foden playing in a more advanced role than Maddison against Croatia on Monday night, it meant the Leicester man had to be far more disciplined.

For the Foxes, he’s been a star in the number ten position but this was a different type of performance from the promising midfielder.

Although he found the net in assuring fashion, he proved that he could be useful to Brendan Rodgers next term in a new role.

In England’s 3-3 draw last night, he was solid defensively, making four tackles and a solitary interception as well.

To put that into context, Maddison made just 1.3 tackles per game in the Premier League throughout 2018/19.

It was a contrasting display from the midfield man as not only did he show great prowess inside the penalty area, but he was also valuable when England weren’t in possession.

Check out the video below for the the England U21s to watch in Italy this summer…

His final outing of the competition unfortunately came too late for it to affect the Three Lions’ progress, but it was possibly a sign of things to come at both international and domestic level.

In the senior England setup, Southgate has often preferred Ross Barkley in a similar role to the one Maddison played in for the U21s on Monday.

With a regular spot in the team surely forthcoming next season, it could be a position we start to see him utilised more in for club and country.

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