Maddison reveals he studied Man Utd star to win place in England squad

James Maddison has revealed he studied Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes in order to improve his own game.

The Leicester City midfielder has been in good form this campaign and made a late, successful bid to be included in Gareth Southgate’s England World Cup team after a three-year hiatus.

Rather than dwell on the reasons behind his exclusion in the past, Maddison sought to fine tune his game in a bid to force Southgate’s hand and keeping an eye on United’s Fernandes helped his cause.

‘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.’

After receiving confirmation of his call-up last week, Maddison appeared to have suffered heartache after he limped out Leicester’s match against West Ham after opening the scoring.

The 25-year-old, however, allayed fears he is carrying an injury and is ready to go for the national team after coming through Wednesday’s training session unscathed.

He 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 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.’


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