James Maddison reveals he studied Bruno Fernandes as 2022 World Cup ace explains ‘student’ credentials

James Maddison reveals he studied Bruno Fernandes as 2022 World Cup ace explains ‘student’ credentials

James Maddison studied Bruno Fernandes in his quest to earn an England recall for the World Cup.

Gareth Southgate left the Leicester star out in the cold for three years before his return this month, and he described Maddison as no bad apple but instead a “student” of the game.

And Maddison, 25, showed off those credentials as he spoke of his admiration of Manchester United star Fernandes at England’s camp in Al Wakrah.

“A couple of seasons ago, when I wasn’t in the England squad, Bruno Fernandes was playing very well for Manchester United and putting up ridiculous numbers in terms of goals and assists,” Maddison told reporters.

“So I probably watched him a bit closer at that time. ‘How is he scoring so many goals? What runs is he making that I’m not?’. If that makes me a student of the game, then that’s what I am.”

He added: “I watch every game. My house is football mad. My girlfriend goes crazy because I watch so much. During the lockdown, when there were four games a day, I had them all on.

“I don’t think that there is a player now that I model my game on - maybe when I was younger. I appreciate all the good players in the Premier League.

“I try and take something from each of the players I watch, whether they are a higher level, the same level or lower. If I’m watching a game on TV, I’m often watching players in my position.

“I’m a football man. I’ve said that many times. Because I just love the game. In my head, I’m still that little boy who is kicking the ball around in the garden on or with [England] face paint on.”

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

Southgate has said he is ready to throw Maddison on from the start against Iran at Khalifa International Stadium on Monday.

However, for a moment, that looked in doubt after the midfielder went off early in Leicester’s 2-0 win away at West Ham at the weekend.

Maddison allayed fears about the severity of his injury and said: “It’s okay. We had a scan the day before we met up. It was a positive scan.

“I had a little problem in the week building up to the West Ham game and post the Everton game, which was the week before for us. I wanted to play, I didn’t want to not give it a go because of the World Cup. That’s not the person I am.

I have to do a bit of work to get up to speed with the physios.

“I didn’t want to have that attitude, I wanted to help Leicester because the focus was still there and [I] managed to score early and carry on for a little bit after that.

“But there was a bit of soreness and it was getting a little bit worse as the game went on so I thought it was probably for the best for me to come off and get someone else on who wouldn’t have that problem in the full sprint and that full extent.

“We’ve had the scan since, it was a good scan. It wasn’t any major problem. I have to do a bit of work to get up to speed with the physios here but it should be no concern.”