Rio Ferdinand confused Gareth Southgate continues to snub ‘phenomenal’ 25-year-old

Rio Ferdinand on James Maddison Credit: Alamy
Rio Ferdinand on James Maddison Credit: Alamy

Rio Ferdinand has hinted that time may be running out for Leicester City’s James Maddison to convince Gareth Southgate to name him in his World Cup squad.

Maddison only has one England appearance to his name, coming off the bench in the Three Lions’ 7-0 demolition of Montenegro in November 2019.

That international break was the last time the 25-year-old was called up by Southgate.

England take on Iran, Wales, and the USA in Group B in Qatar.

Southgate submitted a 55-man squad to FIFA last month and will name his final squad by November 13, though he is expected to do so three days prior, before the final round of Premier League fixtures.

Maddison’s excellent form for Leicester this year has resulted in lots of people saying he should be on the plane to Qatar.

Despite Leicester’s struggles this season, Maddison has flourished.

In 11 Premier League encounters, the former Coventry City youngster has scored six and assisted two goals.

Despite his form in 2022, Southgate once again opted not to call Maddison up for the international break in September.

Knowing Southgate and his management style, the Leicester talisman will probably not be named in his 26-man squad for the World Cup.

Many players who are not playing consistently or at a high level will still be picked, such as Harry Maguire, Kalvin Phillips, and in Maddison’s position, Jack Grealish.

And Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand is not sure how Maddison has not been called up by Southgate at all this year.

The former England defender says he ‘likes’ the player, but is unsure where he fits in the team or what player misses out for him, however.

“I don’t know (what he has to do to get selected),” Rio said on his Vibe with Five podcast.

“He didn’t play well at the weekend. His stats, numbers, and performances recently have been phenomenal.

“All I am going to say is who do you take out of that number 10 position? Who do you take out? Grealish, [Phil] Foden, [Mason] Mount, [Bukayo] Saka, [Raheem] Sterling. Who do you take out?

“I like James Maddison and think he has huge talent but it’s where does he fit in this squad and team?

“So Grealish to people like us in terms of stats isn’t where he should be.

“He hasn’t got enough assists and goals but if you went to Pep Guardiola and said: ‘In your team is he doing what you need him to do?’

“The fact he keeps playing him suggests yes.”

Leicester were beaten 1-0 at home to Premier League champions Manchester City on Saturday afternoon.

Brendan Rodgers’ side have three fixtures before the break for the World Cup.

The Foxes face Everton at Goodison Park this weekend before hosting Newport County in the Carabao Cup.

Their final fixture before the tournament in Qatar is away to David Moyes’ West Ham United.

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