Leicester boss Rodgers hails Maddison ahead of potential England call-up

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has heaped praise on James Maddison amid reports the midfielder could make his England debut next month.

Maddison, who turns 23 in November, is no longer eligible for the Under-21 side and has made an impressive start to the season with his performances against Wolves and Chelsea.

England boss Gareth Southgate is said to be poised to name Maddison in his squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifying clashes against Bulgaria and Kosovo.

It would be the former Coventry and Norwich playmaker’s second call-up to the senior team after he was selected against Spain and Croatia in October 2018, but he did not feature on that occasion.

“I haven’t spoken to Gareth. Since I’ve come in, I’ve been so impressed by James,” said Rodgers.

“He’s got a great football brain, technically he’s a high level, everyone sees chances he creates, how he finds space and creates opportunities for others, and he’s tactically improving all the time.

“He loves football, thinks about the game, loves training. You saw his performance last week, outstanding with and without the ball. He’s a really good guy, has lots of maturity, plays with great spirit and he’s a joy to work with.”

The Leicester boss will be hoping Maddison maintains his form for the trip to Sheffield United, whom Rodgers says remind him of the Swansea team he won promotion with in 2011.

The Blades have made a solid start to their Premier League return, drawing with Bournemouth and winning against Crystal Palace last weekend, and host the Foxes on Saturday.

“I’m expecting a very tough game,” said Rodgers. “I’ve been very impressed by them watching them in the Championship and (manager) Chris (Wilder) has done a terrific job with the promotions he’s got, getting them up from League One into the Premier League.

“They remind me a little bit of the Swansea team we took up from the Championship in terms of them being mostly guys who have played at the lower levels and have fought their way through.

“They also have quality and spirit and a real togetherness and you see that in how they play.”

Leicester defender Ben Chilwell looks set to miss the trip to Bramall Lane. The full-back continues to struggle with the hip problem that ruled him out against Chelsea.

He has had an injection and is expected to be back in contention for the Foxes’ home game against Bournemouth on August 31.

Veteran Christian Fuchs stepped in to fill the void at Stamford Bridge and he should keep his place in the team.

Rodgers said: “Ben had an injection last week. He will join in the training, we will see how he is for the weekend, but (he is) more than likely to be available next week for Leicester.

“Christian was excellent at Chelsea. What I’m pleased about is that he got the reward for the way he has been training.

“He’s a valuable member of the squad and he’s got this top young left-back who has been in front of him for the past 18 months or two years but that doesn’t mean he’s any less important and he gives 100 per cent every single day and he was outstanding and was able to show his power and pace and defensive qualities.”

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