James Maddison ‘never felt the door was closed’ on his England ambitions despite not being called up for THREE YEARS until the World Cup squad… as Leicester star reveals he went to his parents for tea after Gareth Southgate delivered the good news!
- James Maddison’s excellent Leicester form earned him a World Cup call-up
- His one and only England cap came three years ago against Montenegro
- Maddison, 25, never gave up hope when it came to forcing and England recall
- He missed the call from manager Gareth Southgate to deliver the good news
- Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers had been with him as he awaited the call
- Maddison spent the evening with his parents after being named in the 26
- Click here for the latest World Cup 2022 news, fixtures, live action and results
James Maddison never felt the door was closed on his England ambitions and felt ‘no bitterness’ towards Gareth Southgate despite not being picked for three years.
The Leicester City attacking midfielder was selected for England’s 26-man World Cup squad after an excellent start to the season at club level.
Maddison, 25, made his one and only England appearance off the bench in a 7-0 win over Montenegro back in November 2019 before being overlooked – until now.
James Maddison said he never gave up on his England ambitions despite going three years without a call-up from Gareth Southgate
Maddison was waiting for the call from Gareth Southgate with Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers
‘No there was no bitterness,’ he said in a press conference in Doha as England prepare for their World Cup opener against Iran on Monday.
‘As England manager, Gareth has a lot of talent at his disposal.
‘It is just about keeping that mindset of staying hungry, scoring, assisting and affecting games and showing that I can be an asset for him at this level.’
Maddison has scored seven goals and contributed four assists for Leicester so far this season to force himself back into the England reckoning.
He added: ‘No, I never felt [his international chance] had gone. There were obviously times where you feel like you’re playing well and not getting selected and that happened a couple of times.
‘It is about having the right mindset and staying hungry to achieve and not thinking it was a closed door.
Maddison’s fine scoring form for Leicester this season made it impossible to ignore him
He has scored seven times and contributed four assists for Leicester so far this season
He suffered an injury scare at West Ham on Sunday but says scan results were positive
‘We have seen with Gareth in the past he has brought players back in when they’re in good form and thankfully that was me for this tournament.’
There was a late alarm after Southgate made his selection when Maddison was forced off in Leicester’s win at West Ham on Saturday.
But he delivered a positive update, suggesting he will be fit for the group opener if called upon.
‘We had a scan the day before we met up and it was a positive scan,’ he said.
‘I had a little problem in the lead up to the West Ham game. I wanted to play, I didn’t want to not play because of the World Cup, that’s not the sort of person I am. I wanted to show the focus was still there.
‘I managed to score early and carry on for a little bit after that but there was soreness and it was getting a little bit worse as the game was going on.
Maddison’s one and only England cap to date came in a 7-0 win over Montenegro in 2019
‘The scan was a good scan and no major problem. I’ll have to do a little bit of work with the physios here to get up to full speed.’
Maddison revealed he was with Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers when Southgate’s number flashed up on his phone – even though he missed the call initially.
‘He [Rodgers] was just being a good man-manager, putting his arm around me if I didn’t get the call,’ he said.
‘I went downstairs into the dressing room and I’d missed a call off Gareth Southgate. So the heart starts beating. I’d had his number saved still.
‘I went up and called him back and he gave me the good news, which was all a bit of a blur.
Maddison pictured in training at England’s Al Wakrah base on Wednesday ahead of the opener
‘After the call had ended it was a head on the wall moment, I took a big deep breath and then I called my parents.’
Maddison’s first instinct was to share the magical moment with his parents, even driving to their home in Coventry to have dinner that night.
He recalled: ‘My dad actually cried and my dad is not a crier. I’ve not seen him cry for years. They were happy tears, of course. Your family and parents are on this journey with you.
‘In previous years when I have been left out of squads, the disappointment of that is spread through the family. On the other end of the scale, the happiness comes out.
‘After training, I wanted to see them, I went to Coventry and had dinner with them. That was a moment I will cherish forever.’
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