James Maddison has never been more confident after finally fulfilling his “dream” of starting for England, according to Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers.
Maddison won his second England cap making his full international debut in the 2-0 win over Ukraine last Sunday in the Euro 2024 qualifier. The star has had a very long wait to break into Gareth Southgate’s starting XI since coming on as a sub against Montenegro in November 2019.
Rodgers believes Maddison,26, who has nine Premier League goals, has now proven he is among the very best English talents. And he is unfazed about Maddison, whose contract at Leicester expires in 2024, having his head turned playing for England alongside Premier League stars from bigger rival clubs.
Ahead of today’s trip to Crystal Palace, Rodgers said: “He’s playing and that has allowed him to achieve his dream, which was to play for his country. It gives him confidence and Gareth and his staff have shown the confidence to put him into a qualification game, which is great.
“He’s earned the right for it. We’re delighted for him and for his family. It’s been a long road for him in terms of making that first start. He knows himself, he’s up there on a level with a lot of the really gifted players in that squad.
“England are very blessed, they have a lot of top attacking talents. It’s then just really about the preference of the coaching and management staff and if James can fulfil that work, which we know he can then, he’ll get picked.
“There’s very few times – maybe one occasion here – where his confidence wasn’t quite at the level it was. Other than that, he has an inherent belief in his ability. He’s now matching that with the work-rate and mentality and we’ve seen the results of that over the last few seasons.
“He will hope, like we all will, that he can be involved in the England squad over the next number of years. His contract’s got a year to go but I think you see him happy here.”
Leicester head to Selhurst Park on Saturday after ending a run of four successive defeats with a gritty point on the road at Brentford despite falling behind.
After the match, Maddison took to social media to brand a supporter “a wally” who said City being content with a draw shows how much the mentality has “plummeted”. Rodgers insists he doesn’t have a problem with Maddison interacting with fans online but admits ultimately his side must do their talking on the grass.
He added: “I’m not on the social media side of things but I’m aware of the interaction that takes place. James is a very honest guy and probably just laid out his thoughts.
“But you always do your talking on the pitch and that’s what I’ve always promoted. It’s never all going to be good online. But I think James is right in the context of the season and, and the context of Brentford season, it was a really good point.”