Former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has shared his opinion on England manager Gareth Southgate's decision to omit Leicester City midfielder James Maddison from his recent squad. He claimed that the decision has "got to be personal."
Maddison, 25, was in red-hot form for Leicester during the second half of last season. The former Norwich City midfielder made 52 appearances for the Foxes in all competitions, scoring 18 goals and contributing 12 assists.
Many had expected to see Maddison selected as part of Southgate's squad for the UEFA Nations League fixtures against Germany, Italy and Hungary this month.
This is despite Maddison boasting superior numbers than the trio and Wilshere believes Southgate's decision is a harsh one.
He told talkSPORT (via SportBible):
"He’ll [Southgate] know his starting 11 now. For the first game of the World Cup. It’s very harsh, especially on Maddison. More goals, more assists than Jack Grealish, Foden, [James] Ward-Prowse."
Wilshere alluded to the huge contribution Maddison has had when compared to the likes of Foden and his City teammate Jack Grealish:
"It’s got to be personal. Because, as well, chances created, he’s sixth in the league, sixth. We’re looking for a creative midfielder, and I’m not saying none of them can create, I love Grealish, I love Foden, but you’ve got to put Maddison in that conversation, at least."
James Maddison's quizzical absence from the England squad
Leicester City midfielder James Maddison began the season off slowly, with his form not hitting the heights that have become of him.
He found himself on Brendan Rodgers' bench for three fixtures during August-September.
However, Maddison flourished in November, becoming a key part of Leicester's side that made it to the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa Conference League.
Southgate doesn't seem to want to count on the Foxes midfielder and that may be down to the England manager having a favored group.
The likes of Mason Mount, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish are now regulars for the Three Lions. The trio were part of the group that played at the European Championships last summer.
Perhaps Southgate feels familiarity is a key strength for England heading towards the World Cup.
However, he has given a number of defenders who hadn't been capped before, opportunities in the recent Nations League squad. This includes Maddison's Leicester teammate James Justin.
However, England put up shambolic performances in their four Nations League fixtures, failing to win even one. They lost twice against Hungary, including a 4-0 loss at home.
Hence, it begs to be seen whether Maddison will make the next squad with the 2022 FIFA World Cup on the horizon.
The 25-year-old has just one international cap to his name that came all the way back in November 2019.
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