Plenty of discussion has been had over England’s up-and-coming youngsters that are rising through and playing Premier League football.
After Chelsea’s transfer ban, Frank Lampard has made full use of the likes of Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount, while Manchester United under Ole Gunnar Solskjær, have continued to bring through their academy starlets into the first-team.
However, it is 22-year old James Maddison that is now at the heart of the discussion.
After moving from Norwich City to Leicester City in 2018, the Englishman has risen to the level of the Premier League and impressed hugely – so much so that he has been called up by Gareth Southgate to the senior men’s national team.
"Give him the England shirt, we have to change our mindset!"
"It will be a travesty if he's not involved for the next one."
— 🇩🇪 Ja! Watch the Bundesliga live on BT Sport🇩🇪 (@btsportfootball) September 21, 2019
Throughout 2018/19, Maddison gave more than a glimpse of what he can do and how he can affect the game. Mainly playing as a number 10, the England U-21 international can also competently play deeper or out wide, as seen as when Brendan Rodgers came in towards the back end of last season.
Scoring seven goals and making seven assists in 36 Premier League appearances was a hugely positive debut season for Maddison, but there was always room for improvement, especially when playing against the traditional ‘top six’.
However, this season, mainly playing from the left and cutting inside, the playmaker has started to make amends to his game and is now beginning to influence those more important matches.
Leicester have aspirations of breaking into the top six and need to be recording results against their competitors, just as they have done against Chelsea and Tottenham. During both of those games, Maddison directly affected the game with an assist against Lampard’s side and a wondergoal against Spurs that proved to be the winner.
Well played @Madders10 who just gets better and better. Has to be close to a starting place for England, surely.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) September 21, 2019
So far this season, Maddison is also ranked third in the Premier League for successful dribbles per-game, averaging 3.5. Only Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe and Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha have managed to record more, and given both are wingers, Maddison is showing his natural ability to be on the ball and find ways past his opposition.
At just 22-years-old, the Englishman has his future out in front of him and will be no short of offers come next summer. Although the Foxes put up a brave fight for Harry Maguire during the last transfer window, it was inevitable that a club would eventually lay down the asking price in order to land him. Maddison is the same.
Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham will be the front runners to land the Englishman, with Arsenal and Chelsea already having players of similar ages in those positions.
"If there's a valuation met which the club perceives the player to be worth then there will be a discussion."
— SportsGridUK (@Sportsgriduk) September 21, 2019
Ultimately, Maddison’s future will depend on whether he wants to be a guaranteed starter at a club like Manchester United or Tottenham, or whether he would want to sacrifice some minutes and compete with the squads of Liverpool and City. The differences between the two groups are stark.
Whichever club Maddison decides to choose are getting one of the brightest players in the Premier League and also for England. There is no doubt that he will be called up for Southgate’s squad in the European Championship next summer, with his price tag undoubtedly rising should he perform well.
The Englishman must stay grounded and continue to affect the biggest games this season, but he is on an upward trajectory now and there is no limit for what he might achieve.