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James Maddison reveals inspiration behind free-kick speciality

James Maddison

The former Coventry, Norwich and Aberdeen midfielder scored five goals from set-pieces before completing a £20 million move to Leicester last summer, and has settled into Premier League life with ease, netting seven times in 34 league games.

Three of those strikes have been free-kicks, and while the 22-year-old is some way off Beckham’s record 18 goals from dead-ball situations, Goldenballs had only bagged one Premier League free-kick at the same age as Leicester’s set-piece specialist.

The midfielder even reportedly chose the No.23 shirt at former club Norwich out of admiration for the ex-England captain.

Speaking in the June 2019 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, the 300th edition and a 25th anniversary special, Maddison says: “I used to watch David Beckham when I was younger, and we all know how good he was from dead-ball situations, so I’ve just always practised. I’ve always loved taking free-kicks and put a lot of work into them.”

Maddison’s form has already resulted in a senior England call-up, although he didn’t get any action in last October’s Nations League games against Croatia and Spain.

Gareth Southgate admitted in March that he didn't call Maddison up to his latest squad because he doesn't play a No.10, but the player is hungry for more as the Three Lions prepare for June’s Nations League Finals clash with the Netherlands.

“I didn't know he said that, as I don't read the papers,” he says. “But we had chats when I was with the senior squad – he's a really nice guy and a very good coach, who I have so much respect for because he's done a brilliant job.

“Obviously I'm a No.8 right now, so we'll just see how it goes.

“It was an amazing experience and has always been a dream for me.

“For now, I can only keep concentrating on Leicester, keep my form high and let that take care of itself. I’ve got the U21 European Championship coming up, which I’ll probably be involved in. That will be brilliant, as I’ve never been involved in a tournament.”

Read the full interview with James Maddison in the June 2019 issue of FourFourTwo, a 25th anniversary special. We speak to Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe, who appeared in issue 5 of the magazine in 1994 as a Cherries trainee, about his and the club’s roller-coaster quarter of a century, and hail the 101 greatest players of FFT’s lifetime. Plus, we talk to  Leeds defender Pontus Jansson, share some unseen Pele pictures, ask Gaizka Mendieta your questions, and meet YouTube’s maddest fan Mark Goldbridge.

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Conor Pope is the Online Editor of FourFourTwo, overseeing all digital content, and joined the team in February 2019. He supports Blackburn Rovers and holds a season ticket with south London non-league side Dulwich Hamlet. His main football passions include Tugay, the San Siro and only using a winter ball when it snows.