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James Maddison confident he still has a role to play in Qatar

James Maddison confident he still has a role to play in Qatar

James Maddison remains confident he has a big role to play for England at the World Cup even though he is yet to feature in Qatar.

The Leicester City playmaker is one of four outfield players in the England squad, including Conor Coady, Conor Gallagher and Ben White, yet to play a minute in Qatar.

However, Maddison insists he has ‘no doubt’ about his ability to impact the biggest matches.

England have a plethora of attacking talent, including Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish, who have all played a part in Qatar while Harry Kane leads the line.

Maddison’s absence in the early stages of the tournament was down to his struggles with a niggling knee problem.

But England were able to cope, comfortably earning a place in the knockout stage and swatting aside Senegal to reach the quarter-finals.

Ahed of Saturday’s blockbuster clash against France (via the Evening Standard), the 26-year-old believes he can offer Gareth Southgate something different from the bench.

“I know I can affect games at this level, so it is just about waiting for the opportunity and showing it when it comes,” said Maddison. “I never had any doubts, and self-belief has never been a problem.

“I think [I would] definitely [be useful in] a game against a low block, where we are struggling to get a goal or struggling to create. That could definitely be an opportunity.

“I am a player who takes risks, gets goals, and assists. I think one of my strengths is unlocking stubborn defences.”

Maddison received his call-up courtesy of his impressive form for Leicester in the Premier League this season.

“He has been pivotal in the Foxes’ resurgence from their disastrous start to the season, helping them climb out of the relegation zone with seven goals and four assists.

After recovering from injury, Maddison admitted that he wants to play but insists he is honoured at the chance to represent his country and will not sulk about his lack of minutes.

“Every player wants to play – I am not going to sit here and say I am happy to be part of the squad and not get on, because I want to play,” he added.

“For me, I have not had any minutes yet, but if I start sulking and moaning and not giving my all in training, not being a good, positive person around the camp, it just feeds into the spirit that we talk about that is so good. No one wants to be that guy.

“There is a bigger picture here. I wanted to be in the squad so bad that not playing yet is not something that is getting me down. It is a pleasure to be here, and I am honoured to be here.”

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