James Maddison believes he could make an impact for Gareth Southgate’s England at the Qatar World Cup after starring in Leicester’s 4-0 win over Nottingham Forest.
Maddison has only made a single international appearance back in 2019, even though Harry Kane is the only England player to have been involved in more goals since the start of last season (34 vs 26).
Maddison scored twice against Forest on Monday night, including a fine free-kick, and also set up Patson Daka to score the fourth.
He says that despite Leicester’s struggles this season he feels he is playing at a high level and is hopeful of “forcing” his way into Southgate’s plans.
“It’s been a weird position for me, we’ve been bottom of the league but I’ve almost been as confident as I have ever been in my career,” the 25-year-old told Sky Sports.
“I don’t remember playing as well as I have over the last 12 months. It’s an ambition and goal of mine. An opportunity at that level would be something I desire and I know I could have an impact at and one I hope will come my way.
“I know there’s top players in the forward areas but I have self-belief and confidence that I am enough of a top player to be in that category.
“I will keep working hard. I have to force my way in because those players at the big clubs are in at the minute and they are good players. But I think there could be a space for me so I will keep working hard and keep producing performances like that tonight and see where it leaves me.”
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers also gave his backing to Maddison, telling Sky Sports: “It’s such a shame I think for the country and for the boy himself.
“You see his talent and his performance level for the last 18 months is clear. I think it’s only Harry Kane who has been involved in more goals among English players.
“To not even been in the squad, and I think to have a player even if he’s not going to start but a player of that quality… and not only that, in international football it’s the personality to take the ball and be creative to change the game.
“James is all of that. He’s an absolutely brilliant player and I really hope over the next few months he can continue the form he’s shown for the past 18 months and can somehow get into the team because if you want creativity, personality, he’s improved the defensive side of his game, he can play in a couple of positions and for me, he’s an absolutely outstanding player.
“He’s up there, and I love Phil Foden, Mason Mount, those boys that play there. Jack Grealish is different as he’s more from the side. But Madders can play in a number of positions to a high level. He showed that tonight.
“He’s 25 years of age. When I first came in here, you saw his haircuts and his bags and all of that. He’s matured and he’s a great lad. To work with him every day, he’s an absolute joy.
“He’s now become a father and he’s matured in his game. He’s very focused. Of course he wants to play but this is a guy who would be sop supportive of the squad.
“To have him there if you’re in trouble in any game, you know he can beat a man, make a pass, you saw his free-kick tonight.
“He’s got so many qualities that are deserving of at least being in the squad.”