Matt Le Tissier believes James Maddison can emerge as a gamechanger from the bench for England as he looks to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s side.
The Leicester midfielder has been called into Southgate’s squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers away to the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, having been made to wait for his debut after sitting on the sidelines throughout games against Kosovo and the Bulgarians last month.
Maddison’s outstanding form for the Foxes this season – the 22-year-old has three goals in eight games – has meant Southgate cannot overlook him, but fitting the playmaker into his side is proving more of a challenge given the 4-3-3 shape he has adopted and honed.
Instead, Le Tissier sees him as an option to change things around late in a game if things are not going England’s way.
“At first, coming off the bench might be the way to edge his way in,” Le Tissier told the PA news agency.
“When he’s done that and proven he can make a difference at that level, he might even change the manager’s thinking as to the shape of the team to fit him in on a regular basis.”
Matt Le Tissier was speaking at the launch of Le Tiss Air, an away match experience organised by eToro, partner of Southampton FC and five other Premier League clubs, to reward football fans.
The profile of a gamechanger who does not easily fit into the national team is one familiar to Le Tissier, whose mercurial style limited him to only eight England caps despite his prolific record with Southampton.
“I can see some similarities,” added Le Tissier, who said he was surprised Maddison was not given a taste of international football in either the 5-3 win over Kosovo or the 4-0 victory over Bulgaria in September.
“I think the position he likes to operate in is similar to the spaces I used to like.
“I like the way he’s always looking to shoot, even if he’s 25 or 30 yards out. He’s not afraid to let off shots. The only way you score goals is to have shots.
“I like how comfortable he is on the ball, the areas he tries to play in to find those pockets of space.
“I think he’s got enough about him to play in there and I think it’s only a matter of time before you give him his first appearance.”
Maddison is one of three uncapped players in Southgate’s squad along with defenders Tyrone Mings and Fikayo Tomori.
Tomori’s Chelsea team-mate Tammy Abraham has also been called up after a superb start to life in the Premier League, with his goal against Southampton on Sunday his eighth in as many league games.
The 22-year-old has two England caps to his name already, but a third this week will rule out a future switch to Nigeria as it would be his first competitive appearance.
“He has an incredible opportunity because we’re not blessed with loads of forwards who score loads of goals,” Le Tissier said.
“For sure, you wouldn’t put him in the same league as Harry (Kane) just yet so he will probably have to feed off scraps of 15 or 20 minutes here and there.
“But it’s like anything. You just have to wait for your opportunity and if that comes with injury or suspension, you have to take advantage.”
:: eToro, the global multi-asset investment platform, is rewarding loyal football fans ahead of an in-depth report due to be released later this month in association with the KPMG Football Benchmark, which looks at the costs associated with being a dedicated match-going football fan. To find out more head to www.eToro.com
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