James Maddison believes there is ‘space for me’ in the England squad, in a clear message to Gareth Southgate after his brace against Nottingham Forest.
Maddison has been a shining light for Leicester this season amid their struggles. He has scored goals in Premier League defeats to Arsenal, Southampton and Tottenham.
And these goals have been impressive, too. He sent a curling free-kick into the net from 25 yards out against Southampton. The attacking midfielder also used great technique to send a half volley into the far corner against Tottenham, a team who have shown interest in signing him.
Maddison made it five goals in seven Premier League outings on Monday night by bagging a brace in Leicester’s 4-0 win over Forest.
He opened the scoring in the 25th minute by sending a deflected strike past Dean Henderson, before wheeling off in celebration.
After Harvey Barnes had doubled Leciester’s lead, Maddison made it 3-0 by driving a free-kick in off the post.
And the 25-year-old’s influence on the game wasn’t done there, as he set up Patson Daka for Leicester’s fourth.
During a post-match interview with Sky Sports, Maddison was asked about potentially getting into the England squad for the World Cup.
James Maddison spurred on by England snub
He has only won one cap for the Three Lions so far and was left out for the recent games against Italy and Germany, where England were lacking creativity in attacking areas.
Maddison thinks there is already room for him in Southgate’s squad, while he also claimed to be in the form of his life.
“It’s been a bit of a weird position for me, to be honest, because we’ve been bottom of the league and results have not been going our way but I’ve almost been as confident as I’ve ever been in my career,” Maddison said (via The Independent).
“I don’t remember playing better than I have or feeling as well as I have. But (making the England squad) is an ambition of mine, a goal of mine.
“I’m a football man, I watch all the games, I watch international football and an opportunity at that level would be something that I desire and I almost know that I’d have an impact.
“I’ll keep working hard and I’ve got to have the mindset that I’ve got to force my way in.
‘Space for me’ at England, says Leicester man
“The players at the big clubs who are in at the minute, they’re good players, they’re top players, and I’m not naive to that, but I think there could be a space for me.
“So I’ll keep working hard and keep producing performances like that tonight for Leicester, for the gaffer here and see where it leaves me.”
Maddison faces plenty of competition from the likes of Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Mason Mount for an England spot. Southgate trusts all of these players, so Maddison will have to better than at least two of them to get on the plane for Qatar.
But he is in electric form right now and if he can continue this purple patch there is no reason why Southgate should leave him out.
Leicester have had a dire start, but Maddison dragged them to an impressive victory over their east Midlands rivals. They are now off bottom spot and looking to move up the Premier League table.
Maddison will be aiming to keep his hot streak going in Leicester’s next game. They face Bournemouth on Saturday at 15:00.