James Maddison is relishing being a part of England’s World Cup squad, even though he’s yet to play a minute.
The Leicester City playmaker was a headline inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s 26-man squad for the tournament in Qatar after enjoying a wonderful start to the season with seven goals and four assists in the Premier League to his name.
After missing the first two group games due to injury, Maddison has been an unused substitute against Wales and Senegal.
The 26-year-old would love to get his chance in Saturday’s quarter-final vs France but insists he’s enjoying the experience of helping his teammates and being part of his first major tournament.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Maddison said: “Involvement doesn’t always mean minutes on the pitch and that’s something that I’ve probably learned in the last few weeks of being out here.
“Of course, every player wants to play and I’m no different, I’m desperate to get out there and show what I can do but it’s one of them.
“It’s my first major tournament at senior level and it’s brilliant to be a part of.
“It’s such a learning curve and you gain so much experience on a daily basis without even realising on how it works and what it takes to be successful.
“We have been successful – what a brilliant performance last night. We were very convincing against a good Senegal team in the knockouts.
“I’m feeling good. The injury is gone, I’m feeling 100 per cent. I’ve been training for a while now and have been available for the last couple of games and so it’s just about being patient, staying ready, which I am, working hard and trying to be an option for the manager.”
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Asked what Gareth Southgate’s message is to those not starting, Maddison added: “We’re professionals so we know how it works. When the team is announced and you’re not in the starting XI it’s about having that professionalism and the unselfishness to prepare and be ready as if you are starting.
“That sometimes can be difficult because every player wants to play and every player wants to represent England at the World Cup, but only 11 can start and there’s 26 of us.
“You’ve got to put that aside and train and prepare as if you are playing because when called upon you need to be ready to go in and have that impact, whether it’s ten minutes off the bench or 30 minutes in extra-time.
“You never know when that chance is going to be and you have to be ready.”
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