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Ex-England captain pours cold water on Prem stars World Cup hopes

Gareth Southgate will obviously have the final say when it comes to naming his squad for the World Cup in Qatar but ex-England skipper and Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has gone early in claiming one player won’t be on the plane and it is bad news for Leicester playmaker James Maddison.

Should James Maddison go to the World Cup?

There is a lot of talk about whether or not Maddison should be heading to Qatar as one of England’s offensive weapons; most fans agree that he should be. Leicester have been woeful so far this season but ‘Madders’ has been a shining light for the Foxes; to date he’s chipped in with six goals and two assists from less than 1,000 minutes of action.

On top of that, his all round game – particularly where manipulating the ball, creating chances and dead ball delivery is concerned – has been extremely strong. In fact, so good has Maddison been that Man City boss Pep Guardiola lauded him as a “master” after City and Leicester faced off at the weekend. That is high praise indeed from such a well respected coach.

With players such as Trent Arnold-Alexander seeing their place in the World Cup squad come under threat, the Three Lions could benefit from someone else that can deliver a lethal set piece. That’s just one aspect of Maddison though. When you then look at the makeup of England’s probable squad, a creative midfielder is a massive hole. It’s also one we believe Maddison would fill.

Will Maddison dare to look at Southgate’s squad announcement?

What did Ferdinand say?

Ferdinand, who was capped 81 times by England, knows a thing or two about elite level football. His view is that whilst he accepts Maddison as a “huge talent” he doesn’t see him making the cut. Ferdinand cited the competition in the squad already as being too strong as he questioned “Grealish, Foden, Mount, Saka, Sterling. Who do you take out?”.

The other big question mark raised over Maddison was focussed on his tactical discipline – or perhaps a lack of it. Now, the former United centre back didn’t directly say Maddison struggled with this side of the game, however, he wasn’t shy about labelling Jack Grealish as a more likely option to make Southgate’s squad owing to the fact the England gaffer knows he can trust Grealish to “execute” a manager’s plan.

Will Maddison go to Qatar?

Right, we’ve looked at whether Maddison should go to the World Cup and we’ve also seen Ferdinand’s beliefs; now we look at whether or not he will actually make the plane.

We don’t share the belief that Maddison should miss out on the tournament but we do see it happening. Southgate hasn’t just overlooked Maddison in recent international breaks; the midfield maestro has only made one international appearance to the point with that coming back in 2019. With Southgate not having presented the player a chance since then – and therefore not seeing him up close and personal in that time – it’s hard to imagine him heading to what could be Southgate’s last in charge of the national team.

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