Football News

Rodgers likens Maddison’s positioning to ex-Liverpool talisman Coutinho

By Chris Smith

Published: 18:37, 16 September 2019 | Updated: 17:52, 29 September 2019

Brendan Rodgers has compared Leicester City’s James Maddison to Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho.

Maddison completed more dribbles (5) than any other player during the Foxes’ trip to Old Trafford on Saturday and although he was on the end of a 1-0 defeat, the midfielder’s performance raised plenty of eyebrows.

Is Maddison a Countinho-esque player? Five things to know…

  • Maddison created more chances (100) than any other Premier League player last season.
  • He has been involved in a number of senior England squads but is yet to make his debut.
  • The 21-year-old impressed vs United on Saturday, completing more dribbles (5) than any other player.
  • And Rodgers has compared his skillset to that of ex-Liverpool playmaker Coutinho.
  • Maddison has been heavily linked with Man Utd in recent months.

The former Norwich City man has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United in recent times and Saturday’s outing will only increase that speculation.

Rodgers has now compared Maddison’s style and positioning to that of Coutinho – who was one of his most important players during a three-year managerial spell with Liverpool.

“He’s the type of player who will drift from position to position, I remember working with Coutinho at Liverpool, sometimes he’d play inside, sometimes he’d drift off the side. James is a little bit like that in terms of positioning,” Rodgers explained of the 22-year-old.

“He will continue to work. His job was to create and score goals, he’ll keep working on that. He was unlucky on the free-kick [which just went over the bar].

“He has a threat to get in behind, he was unlucky when the keeper makes a save with his ankle I think it was. He was unfortunate there. That’s what it’s about for him: numbers, creating goals, scoring goals. It’s only his second season at this level and he’s already showing great talent.

“He’s got big potential, I think he’s going to improve in his game, the management of his game, but he’s a big talent and we’re just trying to prepare him in order for him to play at the highest level for as long as he can.”

Maddison has been called up to a couple of recent England squads under Gareth Southgate but, so far, he is yet to make his senior debut for the Three Lions, despite many questioning the strength of their midfield.

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But Rodgers insists young players must learn that they have “no entitlement” and feels sure Maddison’s international debut will come soon enough.

“Young players need to understand they don’t have an entitlement, just because they play well, get in the squad, there has to be a process. Gareth will obviously pick the players who he thinks should play,” he said.

“He has to be consistent, a really humble boy, a lovely swagger, a lovely arrogance, but he is a good kid who will get better. He loves his football, hopefully, he can sustain that place in the squad and be there for when they need him.”

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