James Maddison and England: is Leicester player undroppable after Ukraine display?

James Maddison has been praised by the likes of Chris Sutton and Dion Dublin after a strong display against Ukraine

Leicester City star James Maddison has been described as “undroppable” for England after an impressive display against Ukraine. Maddison earned his first start in an England shirt during a 2-0 victory and was praised for his performance by BT Sport pundit Chris Sutton.

Sutton said: “A lot of people have been calling for James Maddison to start for England long before now. I think he deserved a start and he must be undroppable on the basis of today’s performance.”

In the past, England have been criticised for their inability to create clear chances against the top nations; these were put forward after defeats to Croatia in the 2018 World Cup, Italy in the Euro 2020 final and France in the 2022 World Cup quarter-final. Maddison has shown that he could be the man to solve that problem.

In total he created five chances against Ukraine which is the most of any England player since Theo Walcott against Andorra in 2008. Many football fans have called for Maddison to be a permanent fixture in the England team. But does he deserve a starting spot in Gareth Southgate’s team and what is his best position?

How has James Maddison performed this season?

James Maddison has been amongst the standout midfielders in the Premier League this season despite playing for a struggling Leicester City side who are currently battling to survive in the top-flight. Maddison has scored a total of nine goals for the Foxes this campaign and also provided a creative outlet for his team with six assists.

James Maddison is Leicester’s top scorer and assist maker. (Getty Images)James Maddison is Leicester’s top scorer and assist maker. (Getty Images)
James Maddison is Leicester’s top scorer and assist maker. (Getty Images)

The 26-year-old currently ranks as Leicester’s top goalscorer and top assist maker in the Premier League despite missing seven games with injury. Maddison has been directly involved in around 40% of Leicester’s overall goals this campaign and he is imperative to his team’s hopes of survival.

Should James Maddison start for England?

James Maddison has forced his way back into the England set up after a three year absence and based on current form he deserves to keep his place in the team. Maddison has offered more goals and assists than fellow contenders Mason Mount of Chelsea and Jack Grealish of Manchester City despite playing in a struggling Leicester team - and suffering from a lengthy spell on the sidelines with injury. This season is far from a one off for the midfielder and he has also shown consistent form for the Foxes throughout the last five Premier League seasons - helping the club to back to back 5th place finishes and an FA Cup title in 2021.

Where is James Maddison’s best position?

James Maddison offers Gareth Southgate a potential dilemma when selecting his England team as he is capable of playing in a number of different areas. Maddison most recently appeared on the left side of a front three during England’s victory over Ukraine, but he has also been utilised as a central attacking midfielder on several occasions for Leicester.

Heading into the European Championships in Germany, England have a number of attacking wide players to choose from including Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish. While the likes of Jadon Sancho, Jarod Bowen and Harvey Barnes will all be hoping to reignite their England form in the coming weeks.

However, England are less blessed with central attacking midfielders and there is perhaps more of a need for a player to fill in at that position. Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham both look to be nailed on to start in the midfield as a partnership and they have often had support from Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips.

However, James Maddison could offer a more offensive alternative alongside Rice and Bellingham to help unlock the door of opposition defences and bring more creativity to the team. Maddison also offers England an increased threat from set pieces if Kieran Trippier or Trent Alexander Arnold is left out of the starting line up.