Former City star Maddison determined to show why he deserved England call-up
- Credit: PA
James Maddison is determined to show he deserved his first England senior call-up, after continuing his fine form with Norwich City since stepping up to the Premier League with Leicester.
The 21-year-old has created more goal-scoring chances (15) than any other English player in the top flight this season, creating two goals and scoring three himself in eight games.
He is also the most fouled player (24 times) in the Premier League so far, ahead of Chelsea star Eden Hazard (21) and Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba (19). That has a familiar ring to it for Canaries fans, as Maddison was the most fouled player (147) in the Championship last season – 43 more than any other player – and also created the most chances (124).
Those were the statistics behind the playmaker winning City's player-of-the-season award, after 15 goals and 11 assists in 49 games in all competitions – and now he's hoping to win his first senior international cap during Nations League games in Croatia on Friday and Spain on Monday (both 7.45pm).
'I've always believed in my own ability and been a confident young man,' Maddison said. 'There has never been a point when I've questioned myself. If I've ever had a setback at a club I've always made it my mission to show why I should be in the team instead of dwelling on it.
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'You have to come here and be yourself. If you come here and act like the new kid or the young lad then I don't think it will work out.
'Gareth said to me: 'Go and show what you are about and why you are here'. I have been here five minutes but I have worked hard this season and I want to try and show everyone why I deserve to be here. I will try and show what I have to offer.'
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Maddison became City's club-record sale when he joined the Foxes in a deal worth up to £24m this summer.
He continued: 'It is such a big honour to come and play for England and get the call from Gareth and I am truly honoured. The No 10 position is my favourite role and I'm a player who likes to play in between the lines and try and break that midfield line.
'I went into pre-season with the mindset of, 'be fearless, go and show everyone what you can do'. Just because it's the Premier League, if I started trying to play the simple pass instead of trying the harder pass that is not the type of person I am, to be honest.
'I went in with an open mind and it has worked out well. I'm really enjoying it and loving life.'
The former City star credits his loan spell with Aberdeen during the first half of the 2016-17 season for helping him to learn how to deal with defensive players trying to stop his creativity.
'I'm always a player who has taken fairly rough treatment, to be honest,' Maddison, talking to the Telegraph, added. 'I think my time in Scotland typified that because I think there was one game where I set a record for being fouled 10 or 11 times in a game.
'It is something that I've had to deal with, especially when you're a bit smaller when you're younger because people try and show off, kick the little kid, but I kept on seeming to get away from them. It's just another thing I've learned to deal with.'