Maddison deserves England World Cup call-up as 'one of Premier League's best' – Rodgers

James Maddison has earned his place in England's World Cup squad by becoming "one of the best in the Premier League, his Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers believes.

Maddison was a surprise name in Gareth Southgate's 26-man squad announcement on Thursday, having made his first and only appearance for his country in November 2019.

His recent form for Leicester has won Southgate over though.

Since the start of last season, Maddison has been directly involved in 30 goals in the Premier League (18 goals, 12 assists), with only Harry Kane (38) recording more among English players.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Leicester boss Rodgers described the moment Maddison found out he was heading to the World Cup.

"He was delighted. He had a missed call from Gareth just before we went out to training," Rodgers revealed. "I said to him to go into my office to make the call privately. He obviously spoke to Gareth and came out with all the joy of the world, so it was great for him.

"It's wonderful news for James and his family and everyone here in Leicester. I'm delighted for Gareth from a coaching perspective to have that talent available at a great tournament. His level of consistency, work ethic and talent over these last few years has swung that decision.

"He's a fantastic player, one of the best in the Premier League. I'm really delighted for him."

James Maddison chances created
James Maddison chances created

Maddison was listed as a forward in England's squad along with Kane, Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling and Callum Wilson.

Rodgers believes his versatility will make him a valuable asset, outlining the skills he is likely to bring to Southgate's team if called upon during the tournament, which begins on November 20.

"Everyone talks about his favourite position, but James has played across the front line to a high level," he said. "He's plays for me on the right side. He still scores and creates goals. He makes runs like a top winger. One thing he can do above a lot of players is that he can see the forward pass. That's absolutely key.

"He plays forward quickly. A lot of midfield players can conserve the ball, but you need players to see the pass. He's a player whose view of the game is fantastic. England have players who have talent and James has a special talent that can unlock tight games and defences and he can score goals."