Southgate: James Maddison will learn from casino controversy

England manager Gareth Southgate had no issues with recalling James Maddison, despite controversy surrounding the Leicester City star.

Published : Nov 07, 2019 21:40 IST

Gareth Southgate and England midfielder James Maddison (R) at an England training session.
Gareth Southgate and England midfielder James Maddison (R) at an England training session.

Gareth Southgate and England midfielder James Maddison (R) at an England training session.

James Maddison will have learned a valuable lesson after he was photographed in a casino having left England's previous squad due to illness, according to Gareth Southgate.

Leicester City playmaker Maddison has been in excellent form for the Foxes in 2019-20 and was rewarded with a call-up to Southgate's squad for Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

The 22-year-old was forced to withdraw due to illness but was later pictured in a casino on the same night England went down 2-1 in Prague.

The incident has not harmed Maddison's reputation within the England camp, however, with the midfielder called up for upcoming matches against Montenegro and Kosovo.

Southgate acknowledged Maddison must learn from his actions, but he was adamant speculation surrounding the player's previous withdrawal was misplaced.

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"He's only been in a few squads, he had to go home ill last time," Southgate told a news conference.

"The important thing is that there was some suggestion he decided to go home, [but] we sent him home, he was ill.

"Any suggestion that he chose to go home because he wanted to go out was unfair. Having said that, I don't think it was a great decision that he took.

"Now he will realise, as an England player, there is a different profile. I'm afraid, in the modern world, everybody has a camera phone, [and someone has] seen the chance to make some money by getting pictures.

"That's a part of life we all have to deal with, living in the public eye. We're supporting him because we picked him - now he's got to come into the squad and fight for his place with everyone else."

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was also recalled, alongside Callum Hudson-Odoi and John Stones.

Liverpool's Oxlade-Chamberlain was left out in October as he continued his comeback from a long-term injury, but Southgate explained: "We have huge belief in him.

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"We brought him back a little bit earlier than we might have done in September.

"But in October, he had the message from us that we had faith in him, he just needed to be playing more regularly so he was coming to us ready to play, because you don't want to be coming in short of match fitness - then you don't do yourself justice."

Jack Grealish's form for Aston Villa has not been enough to earn a call up, though Southgate confirmed the midfielder is in line for a place in the squad should any of England's other wide options drop out.

"The reality is that he's up against [Raheem] Sterling, [Marcus] Rashford, Hudson-Odoi and [Jadon] Sancho in those wide areas," Southgate said.

"He's very close, he's just got to keep on playing the way he is, and if we had issues over the weekend, I wouldn't hesitate to call him into the squad."

Sancho is a doubt for Borussia Dortmund's Klassiker clash with Bayern Munich this weekend.

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