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10th Nov 2022

James Maddison missed Gareth Southgate’s England phone call

Callum Boyle

Maddison nearly missed out on his call-up

After endless speculation it’s finally been confirmed that James Maddison will be heading to the World Cup this winter – but it wasn’t without a near miss.

Gareth Southgate named the Leicester City midfielder in his 26-man squad on Thursday to cap a perfect end to the first half of the season.

Southgate had previously been reluctant to call up Maddison and initial reports on Wednesday morning suggested that the 25-year-old wouldn’t make the cut, however as 2pm got closer and closer, it emerged that the midfielder would be going to Qatar after all.

During Brendan Rodgers’ press conference ahead of Leicester’s trip to West Ham, the Foxes boss explained that he had to bring Maddison into his office to answer the call after initially missing out the first time.

“He had a missed call from Gareth just before we went training and I said to him to pop into my office and make the call back privately,” Rodgers revealed.

“He then came out full of the joy of the world. It was a great moment for him. There was happiness and relief. I’m sure there were lots of thoughts going through his mind.

“It’s wonderful news for him and his family and I’m delighted for Gareth to have that talent available at such a great tournament.

“His level of consistency, his work ethic, his talent and what he’s proven over the last few years has swung the decision.

“He is a fantastic player, one of the best in the Premier League, and I’m delighted. He has always had that desire to improve.”

Maddison will now focus on his final game for Leicester on Saturday before linking up with the Three Lions squad as they prepare to fly out to Qatar on Tuesday November 15.

England’s first group game is against Iran on November 21.

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