Football News

‘You want him on your team’ – Cesc Fabregas lauds James Maddison

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 11:00, 20 March 2024

James Maddison has been described as “complete” by Cesc Fabregas.

The 27-year-old England midfielder was Spurs’ most high-profile acquisition last summer, having relocated from relegated Leicester City for a reported £40m.

Maddison started in their Premier League opener at Brentford, creating both Tottenham goals on debut as they were held to a 2-2 draw.

He created five more goals while netting four in a stop-start campaign that saw him miss ten league games due to a foot injury. His performances earned numerous plaudits, with ex-Arsenal and Chelsea star Fabregas the latest to praise Maddison.

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“Straight away, you could feel he’s got the confidence. He’s got the personality to demand the ball, make things happen, and create situations,” he said on the Planet Premier League Podcast.

“He’s good at dribbling, assisting, and scoring goals, so he’s a really complete player, in my opinion. He has a good understanding of Son and the strikers, and for me, he’s a fantastic player to have.

“As a coach, I’m sure that you need to adapt to your players’ strengths, and the better quality they have, the easier it is. And definitely, he is one of them you would always want on your team.”

Despite standing out at club level, Maddison has yet to break through for England. Since winning his first Three Lions cap, a 34-minute cameo against Montenegro in November 2019, the Coventry native has added four more.

Under Gareth Southgate’s stewardship, he’s predominantly featured on England’s left flank inside a 4-3-3 formation, contrasting with the deep-lying forward role Ange Postecoglou deploys him for Tottenham.

An unyielding competition for places in the centre of England’s team has likely resulted in Maddison competing with maligned Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford and promising Newcastle United winger Anthony Gordon for that ‘LW’ berth for their upcoming friendly matches against Brazil and Belgium.

The former potentially sees him lock horns with Spurs teammate Richarlison.

In the build-up, the Brazilian said, “I’ve even told [James] Maddison that there’s no such thing as friendship on the field.”

As mentioned, Maddison hasn’t always been available for the Spurs this season, but he can arguably be described as their most creative player. Despite playing fewer minutes, his seven Premier League assists are joint second in the club’s ranking (one behind Son Heung-min), while regarding most chances created (44), he’s third and nine behind leader Dejan Kulusevski (53).

Returning to his international career, Maddison has yet to net or assist for England, though limited playing time has not helped. Having been part of 17 squads, he’s remained on the bench 12 times while starting four times and never completed the full 90 minutes.

His last outing, a friendly with Australia at Wembley, saw him move into the number 10 role, which Spurs fans became familiar with. After the 1-0 success, when asked where Southgate thinks he is most effective, he said, “He thinks that’s probably where [number ten] I operate best. Even when I play on the left, I still have the freedom to play in central areas.”