James Maddison could be ‘what England need’ at World Cup, says Rodgers

<span>Photograph: Leila Coker/AP</span>
Photograph: Leila Coker/AP

Brendan Rodgers has said it would be a shame if Gareth Southgate does not change his stance on James Maddison and recall the midfielder to his England squad for the World Cup.

Maddison scored twice and set up another goal as Leicester overwhelmed rivals Nottingham Forest 4-0 to secure their first win of the season. Only Erling Haaland has more Premier League goals and assists than the 25-year-old since 11 May but Southgate has repeatedly overlooked Maddison, whose last England appearance came as a substitute against Montenegro in November 2019.

Related: Maddison eases Leicester to win to deepen Nottingham Forest’s woes

Rodgers said he hopes Southgate gives serious consideration to finding a spot for the midfielder in his 26-man squad for Qatar next month. “I would really hope that there was a place for a player like that in a squad, where you’ve got someone who is so talented and such a hard worker and such a team player,” the Leicester manager said. “This [Maddison] is a player who can come into a game and change the course of a game. To have that ability, if he wasn’t starting for you, on the bench to come in and bring something in a tight World Cup game, it’s what a team like England needs.”

Rodgers said victory for Leicester in the first east Midlands derby of the season could prove “season-changing” for his side and reiterated that Maddison has matured since arriving at the club from Norwich in 2018. “When I first came in he was a young guy, you see his haircuts, his bags and all of that sort of stuff, but he’s matured.

“James is an absolutely brilliant player and I really hope over these next few months he can continue his form and somehow get into the [England] team.”

Steve Cooper’s position is under intense scrutiny following five straight defeats, Forest’s worst run in a season since January 2004, but the manager insists his players are still fighting for him.

“You didn’t see the team give up,” Cooper said. “I know it’s a group of players that care. I’m definitely not sensing that [they don’t care] at the moment.

“We are trying to become a successful team on the job, in the hardest domestic league in the world. We have to tackle it head-on.”