James Maddison provides World Cup injury update ahead of Iran opener
James Maddison has revealed he expects to be fit for England’s World Cup opener against Iran, despite suffering an injury scare in Leicester City’s Premier League win at West Ham last weekend. England launch their Group B campaign on Monday, and supporters are clamouring for the Foxes midfielder to feature.
Speaking in a press conference on Wednesday, fresh off showcasing his dart skills with members of the media, Maddison explained he had a ‘positive’ scan after the West Ham clash and only went off early as a precaution. And he insisted it shouldn’t damage his chances of playing in England’s curtain-raiser against Iran.
He told reporters: “The injury is OK. We had a scan the day before we met up, and it was a positive scan. I had a little problem in the lead-up to the West Ham game. I wanted to play, but I didn’t want to not play because of the World Cup. That’s not the sort of person I am. I wanted to show the focus was still there.
“I managed to score early and carry on for a little bit after that, but there was soreness, and it was getting a little bit worse as the game was going on because I didn’t want it to get worse and we could get someone on who can run at full sprint.
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“The scan was a good scan and no major problems. I’ll have to do a little bit of work with the physios here to get up to full speed. It shouldn’t affect me playing in the first game. I might just have to do some separate work with the physios, but I’m hopeful I’ll be fine.”
Gareth Southgate now has a big decision to make. Maddison’s sensational form at club level warrants a starting berth, but whether he will want to risk him when he’s at potentially less than 100 per cent remains to be seen. The Three Lions could set up with a more familiar attack, including Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane, with Jude Bellingham partnering Declan Rice in midfield.
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Maddison accepts he faces tough competition for places in the England squad amid somewhat of a golden age of attacking talent at Southgate’s disposal. But the in-form playmaker has stressed he was never bitter about having to wait for his maiden call-up.
He added: “No, there was no bitterness [over not being picked before]. As England manager, Gareth has a lot of talent at his disposal. But it’s just about keeping that mindset of staying hungry, scoring, assisting and affecting games and showing that I can be an asset for him at this level.”
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