Why James Maddison’s Euros Snub Was Too Harsh

The Football Association has officially released England’s final squad for the upcoming European Championships in Germany, and there are a few surprises. James Maddison, Curtis Jones and Jack Grealish, along with some other notable names, have been left out. Manager Gareth Southgate’s decision raised a few eyebrows, but no selected squad in the history of major tournaments has been able to satisfy everyone. That being said, not bringing Maddison on the plane to Germany seems particularly harsh.
England will launch their Euros campaign against Serbia on 16 June, and while Southgate has a very talented squad at his disposal, it remains to be seen how well his team fares. Maddison’s absence might leave a gaping hole.

Maddison’s Fine Start to the Season

Maddison was one of the better-performing players in the Premier League during the first few months of the season. However, an ankle injury that forced him out for three months disrupted his rhythm and he was not able to replicate the same kind of form after coming back to action.
His return of four goals and nine assists in 30 matches is still quite good though. Tottenham, who began the season with a lot of promise, finished fifth in the league, largely thanks to Maddison’s early-season contributions. The 27-year-old was selected in England’s 33-man training squad last month, but was left out of the final 26, as were Grealish and Jones.
Had the former Leicester City midfielder been able to play the whole season without any major injury, he would probably been able to justify his inclusion in the squad for the Euros. However, it’s still a surprise that a man of his talent and ability could not make it to the Three Lions’ squad.

England Spoilt for Choice in Midfield

England have a large number of stars in their midfield. Trent Alexander-Arnold, the Liverpool right-back, has been successfully deployed as a midfielder by Southgate and will be there alongside Kobbie Mainoo and Adam Wharton to play a holding role.
The 20-year-old Wharton impressed as a substitute in England’s recent 3-0 triumph over Bosnia-Herzegovina in an international friendly. He has also played well for Crystal Palace over the last few months, but one wonders whether he should be in the squad ahead of Maddison. With both Mainoo and Conor Gallagher in good form and Declan Rice being able to play as a either a No. 6 or a No. 8, it was a toss-up between Wharton and Maddison to make it to the final squad.
With Phil Foden capable of playing on either of the flanks and Jude Bellingham in a deeper role, it was always going to be difficult for Maddison, given Cole Palmer’s fantastic form for Chelsea. England might be tempted to start Palmer as their right winger and Foden as their left winger in the Euros. Even if Palmer is deemed unready for the starting lineup, Bukayo Saka will be there to play on the right flank.
Hence, the only realistic chance for Maddison to make it to the playing XI was to be alongside Bellingham as one of the two central midfielders in a 4-3-3. However, Rice has shown of late that he can also prosper playing as one of the two No. 8s. Alternatively, Maddison could have been used as a direct substitute for Bellingham in the No. 10, if Southgate was to opt for a 4-2-3-1.
But with Mainoo and Wharton constantly improving, Rice’s ability to play as a central midfielder and Bellingham, Foden and Palmer continuing their good form, there was no room for Maddison in the manager’s plans. The argument can certainly be made that he should have been called up ahead of Wharton, given his superior experience in top-flight football. Whatever the case may be, Maddison will have to wait at least another two years before he next dons the Three Lions shirt in a major tournament.

Related articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share article

Latest articles