Gareth Southgate has suggested that James Maddison could be an option for England from the bench during the Three Lions’ final group game against Wales on Tuesday. The Leicester talisman has been struggling with a knee injury throughout the World Cup and has just rejoined first-team training after being absent 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 their 26-man squad after being passed over for the Nations League in September. However, he broke through with some hugely impressive performances for the Foxes, which included contributions of 11 goals in all competitions.
He has yet to play any role in England’s efforts after picking up a knee problem against West Ham in Leicester’s last game before the World Cup. He has been training largely on his own while undergoing treatment, but has rejoined the first-team squad and is now in contention to play a role against Wales.
Now Southgate have hinted that Maddison could be a bench option for the final group game against Wales. The Three Lions need a point in the Battle of Britain clash to secure qualification, while a win would ensure they top the group.
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Southgate tried to explain his decision after the match, suggesting that Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish were better options for the game.
“We thought it was the right thing to do to keep the team early and then the wide players with Jack (Grealish) and Marcus (Rashford) ahead of Phil (Foden) for changes,” he said. “Jack can keep the ball well for us and help us upfield, we thought Marcus’ speed would also be a threat for the latter part of the game.”
Whether Maddison will play any role against Wales remains to be seen, but his return to fitness can only be seen as a positive for Southgate and England.
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