Mad­di­son warned to keep low pro­file af­ter casino trip

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport Football - By Ja­son Burt

Gareth South­gate has warned James Mad­di­son that he needs to be “high per­for­mance, low main­te­nance” if he wants to be an Eng­land in­ter­na­tional.

Mad­di­son has kept his place in an en­larged 27-man squad for the Euro 2020 qual­i­fiers against Mon­tene­gro and Kosovo, but with a clear mes­sage from the man­ager that he has to be care­ful about his off-field be­hav­iour. Mad­di­son was left sweat­ing on his place af­ter be­ing pho­tographed in a casino the day af­ter he was pulled out of the last Eng­land squad through ill­ness.

South­gate in­sisted that ru­mours the 22-year-old mid­fielder had with­drawn from the squad be­cause he re­alised he was not go­ing to play against the Czech Repub­lic were not true. “Any sug­ges­tion that he chose to go home be­cause he wanted to go out is un­fair. Hav­ing said that, I don’t think it was a great de­ci­sion that he took,” South­gate said. The Eng­land man­ager added that he was not on a “moral cru­sade” but said: “It’s not a good sit­u­a­tion for a player when we’re talk­ing about him in Sofia, and talk­ing about him here and he’s yet to get on the pitch for us. So, that’s the chal­lenge. You want to be high per­for­mance, low main­te­nance.

“I am pre­pared to work with play­ers who are more dif­fi­cult but you’re more likely to back those play­ers if they’ve scored a win­ner for you and sweated blood for you, and that’s the bond you build with those play­ers over a longer pe­riod of time.”

The in­fer­ence was clear: Mad­di­son has not earned that right and cer­tainly not the right to be “dif­fi­cult” and so has plenty to do to con­vince South­gate of his worth, de­spite his out­stand­ing form for Le­ices­ter City.

Asked whether Mad­di­son un­der­stood the sit­u­a­tion he caused by go­ing out gam­bling at the same time as Eng­land were los­ing away to the Czechs, South­gate said: “I would imag­ine he’s got that. He prob­a­bly didn’t re­alise what the con­se­quences might be and he’s not been with an Eng­land team be­fore. He wouldn’t, per­haps, have

‘You are more likely to back play­ers if they’ve scored a win­ner and sweated blood for you’

picked up the re­spon­si­bil­ity that goes with that. So, I’m sure he’s aware of that now.”

It is also clearly ir­ri­tat­ing for South­gate and not a good look for Mad­di­son when an Eng­land squad an­nounce­ment is dom­i­nated by a player who has been in only three squads but is yet to play for his coun­try. South­gate did not call Mad­di­son af­ter the in­ci­dent, as claimed in a Sun­day news­pa­per be­fore the tie against Bul­garia, as he said this would set a prece­dent.

How­ever, he has spo­ken to other play­ers omit­ted from his squad. Eric Dier was called last week and, be­fore the last an­nounce­ment, a con­ver­sa­tion took place with Dele Alli. Once again the Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur pair have been left out, along with Jesse Lin­gard and Kyle Walker, who were all key play­ers at last year’s World Cup.

“I al­ways talk them through the ra­tio­nale of the ini­tial de­ci­sion and then try to pick it up as we go through,” South­gate said. “Be­cause I think they need feed­back – it’s im­por­tant for play­ers. I’ve done that with Michael Keane [who has been dropped] this time be­cause they want to go away and im­prove and try to get back in the squad.”

South­gate ad­mit­ted that while Alli was “on a bet­ter path” he faced stiff com­pe­ti­tion, with Alex Oxladecham­ber­lain re­called and Ross Barkley hav­ing played well for Eng­land. Barkley, how­ever, may pull out of the squad if he does not fea­ture to­mor­row for Chelsea.

South­gate said he was hope­ful about Ma­son Mount’s fit­ness, de­spite his an­kle in­jury, but that op­ti­mism is not shared at Chelsea. Fabian Delph is also a doubt.

South­gate will watch John Stones, who is back in and who is ex­pected to play for Manch­ester City against Liver­pool on Sun­day.

Villa’s Jack Gre­al­ish has missed out, al­though he may re­ceive a callup if there are with­drawals, with the man­ager say­ing he faces a fight to even make the squad, given he is play­ing in a more ad­vanced po­si­tion and is there­fore in com­pe­ti­tion with Ra­heem Ster­ling, Jadon San­cho, Mar­cus Rash­ford and the re­called Cal­lum Hud­son-odoi.

“It’s just a con­se­quence of the com­pe­ti­tion for places,” he said.

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