England: Maddison ‘braced for bad news’ with Man City duo ‘hoping’ to make World Cup squad

Jason Soutar
England hopeful James Maddison during a match

According to a report, James Maddison is unlikely to be included in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the 2022 World Cup.

Maddison only has one England cap to his name but has staked a claim to earn a call-up for this winter’s tournament in Qatar.

This season, his form for Leicester City has been superb, scoring six and assisting four in 12 top-flight appearances.

The 25-year-old provided two assists as the Foxes picked up a 2-0 victory at Everton on Saturday evening.

Although it is hard to envision Maddison fitting into Southgate’s England system, many believe it would be extremely harsh to see him left out of his 26-man squad for the World Cup.

This week, Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer said Maddison should “definitely” be included.

“I’d definitely be taking Leicester City’s James Maddison, who is playing exceptionally well and my only debating point would be whether he starts or not — although there’s clearly something Gareth doesn’t fancy about him,” Shearer told The Athletic.

Shearer may be correct in saying Southgate “doesn’t fancy” Maddison.

According to The Telegraph, Maddison is ‘bracing himself for bad news’.

The Leicester playmaker is unlikely to be included in the squad, meaning there probably won’t be too much of a reshuffle in midfield.

One midfielder who could travel to Qatar despite only playing 13 minutes this season is Kalvin Phillips.

The Manchester City summer signing has been injured after undergoing surgery on a shoulder problem.

City manager Pep Guardiola confirmed this week that Phillips will be involved in his side’s Carabao Cup match against Chelsea on Wednesday.

Phillips’ club and country teammate Kyle Walker is also doubtful for the World Cup, but the report states that both players are ‘hopeful’ of being named in Southgate’s squad.

Southgate is a fan of the midfielder and will likely include him as opposed to calling up Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek, the report adds.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that Chelsea right-back Reece James will not be risked for the tournament after sustaining a knee injury last month.

This gives Walker a good chance of being included, although Arsenal’s Benjamin White could be Southgate’s first-choice right-back with the City man not fully fit and Trent Alexander-Arnold not a favourite of the England boss.

White’s likely inclusion leaves AC Milan’s Fikayo Tomori and Crystal Palace’s Marc Guehi in a difficult situation.

The report states that Southgate will likely choose between the two, despite their frequent game time and solid form since the start of last season.

There is no mention of Eric Dier and Harry Maguire in the report, which suggests both will be included, despite the latter’s lack of playing time and poor form.

Sticking with defensive inclusions, it is said that Southgate could include Luke Shaw as his only natural left-back following Ben Chilwell’s injury.

Southgate’s left-back options are so scarce it is said that Ashley Young was included in his 55-man provisional submitted to FIFA.

With Maddison likely to be omitted, the report claims that Marcus Rashford and Callum Wilson are being ‘considered’ and Ivan Toney and Tammy Abraham ‘face nervous waits’.

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