Gareth Southgate has suggested that James Maddison could be an option for England off the bench during the Three Lions’ final group match against Wales on Tuesday. The Leicester talisman has been struggling with a knee injury throughout the World Cup and has only just rejoined first-team training after being missing for a week.
Much of the talk in the build-up to the tournament revolved around the midfielder with many people believing that Southgate would not include him in his 26-man squad after being overlooked in September for the Nation’s League. However, he forced his way in with some hugely impressive performances for the Foxes, which have included 11 goal contributions in all competitions.
He is yet to play any part in England’s efforts after picking up a knee problem against West Ham in Leicester’s final game before the World Cup. He has largely been training alone as he undergoes treatment but he has rejoined the first-team squad and is now in contention to play a part against Wales.
Now, Southgate has hinted Maddison could be an option of the bench for the last group match against Wales. The Three Lions need a point in the Battle of Britain clash to secure qualification while a win would ensure that they top the group.
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Southgate tried to explain his decision after the match, suggesting Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish were better options for the game.
“We thought it was the right thing to keep the team from the start then the wide players we went with Jack (Grealish) and Marcus (Rashford) ahead of Phil (Foden) for the changes,” he said. “Jack can keep the ball well for us and get us up the pitch, Marcus’ speed we thought would also be a threat going into the last part of the game.”
It remains to be seen if Maddison will play any part against Wales but his return to fitness can only be considered a positive for Southgate and England.