GARETH SOUTHGATE decided to pick James Maddison in his World Cup squad WEEKS ago – but refused to tell him.
Maddison’s one and only cap came in a Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro almost three years ago.
But his form of late has been impossible to ignore, with the 25-year-old performing right at the peak of his powers, registering six goals and four assists in 12 games this season.
As a result, Maddison convinced Southgate some time ago, but the England boss didn’t fancy telling him.
He said: “A lot of people were suggesting he wouldn’t be with us but we decided a couple of weeks ago that he would, but we wouldn’t tell him that then.
“He is playing really well and he is a good player, we have always said that.
“He has earned the right and we think he can give us something slightly different than others we have.
“At various stages there have been considerations and debates about James.
“Ahead of the Euros I don’t think he was in contention and then probably a fair debate about including him in September.
“But he is playing well as any attacking player in the country.
“He has always been up against good players, he is playing exceptionally well.
“Not enough players play forward these days. He can score goals from distance.”
Southgate was asked how the Leicester star reacted to the call and he said: “He was delighted.
“I had some very difficult calls emotionally at the other end of the spectrum, so it was nice to give myself a bit of an enjoyable end to that.”
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