Maddison opens up on “hardest time in career” following Arsenal interest

James Maddison was strongly linked with a move to Arsenal during the summer after a superb season for Leicester, helping Brendan Rodgers’ team win the FA Cup final

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In pictures: Leicester v Man Utd

Leicester ace James Maddison has admitted his confidence has been low following a traumatic few months in his career.

The midfielder, 24, has been suffering with a niggling hip injury and was omitted from Gareth Southgate’s England squad for Euro 2020.

Maddison was also linked with a move to Arsenal throughout the summer but, despite speculation, a transfer never materialised.

Reports claimed Leicester’s £60million asking price was too much for the Gunners to pay and they signed Martin Odegaard instead.

As quoted by Goal, the player admitted: “It has probably been the hardest time of my career.

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James Maddison helped Leicester win the FA Cup last season


Paul Harding/The FA via Getty Images)

“People on the outside don’t know my life and I am my own biggest critic. If I’ve had a bad game I watch it back straightaway. I’m very critical of myself.

“Goals and assists are a part of it but it’s about playing well, to the level I know I can. I had a good chat with the manager and I told him I was a little bit low on confidence.

“That’s the first time I’ve been able to hold my hands up and say that because it puts you in a bit of a vulnerable position, but that was me being honest.

“We looked at my best clips and what makes me a good player. In recent games I’ve felt more like myself, like I had my swagger back. Sometimes you can overthink things.”

Maddison netted Leicester’s winner in their 2-1 victory against Brentford on Sunday – his first Premier League goal for eight months.

And the former Coventry and Norwich star is hoping to rediscover the form that helped the Foxes win the FA Cup in May.

Maddison was crucial to Leicester’s success last term, scoring 11 goals in 42 games to earn praise from Arsenal legend Thierry Henry.

The Frenchman told the player in July: “Keep on doing what you’re doing because I love the way you’re playing. I like to watch players like you, that think.

“Thinking is important in the game and there’s one thing we don’t use often, which is our brain. Don’t be scared of having a big ego.”

Manchester United legend Gary Neville has also praised Maddison in the past, insisting: “We’re quick to mention players like Maddison being cocky.

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“We used to say it about players like Joe Cole and Matt Le Tissier. Eric Cantona obviously was seen as an arrogant and cocky player. Jack Grealish has had it as well and there’s a stigma attached to some players.

“But actually that’s why they are the players they are. They’ve got flair, ability, they want to look good and look the part.

“They’re brilliant to watch and he [Maddison] is a fantastic player and I’m sure Leicester will be working very hard to make sure they hang on to him.”

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