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James Maddison, Leicester City and England's NxGn prospect

12:00 BST 30/08/2018
James Maddison England
The former Norwich City man has adapted to the Premier League with minimal fuss and is already being championed for a role in Gareth Southgate's squad

Replacing Riyad Mahrez was always going to be a tall order for Leicester City.

Claude Puel's side managed to hold onto the tricky Algerian after Manchester City lodged a late bid to prise him away from the King Power Stadium in January, but the Premier League champions eventually got their man in the summer, leaving the Foxes with £60m lining their pockets but a gaping creative void to fill. 

Rachid Ghezzal arrived from Monaco and seemed a carbon copy of Mahrez - a slight, Algerian international from French football, blessed with quick feet and ingenuity - but thus far much of the creative onus has been placed on the shoulders of young James Maddison, who became the most expensive Championship player in the league's history when he swapped Norwich City for Leicester in a deal worth £25m.

Norwich's talisman last season, having scored 14 goals and bagged eight assists in what proved an otherwise disappointing season for Daniel Farke's side, Maddison started his career with his hometown club Coventry City before joining the Canaries in 2016.

He was soon sent on a short-term loan to Aberdeen at the start of the 2016-17 but, despite impressing at Pittodrie, then Norwich boss Alex Neil was reluctant to hand him an opportunity at Carrow Road.

Neil left the club in March and was temporarily replaced by Alan Irvine, who saw fit to give Maddison some minutes off the substitutes' bench during the dying embers of the season. The 21-year-old repaid his faith with a goal on his debut against Preston North End, which proved to be a sign of things to come.

Upon arriving in East Anglia, Daniel Farke made it clear that he viewed Maddison as an important first-team player and that he would be given opportunities to flourish. He began playing as a central midfielder, using his ability on the ball to drive the team forward and exploit the half-spaces between the lines.

Maddison was perhaps fortunate to start as much as he did during the embryonic stages of the previous campaign; an injury to Alex Pritchard saw Farke hand Maddison more minutes than he would have expected, but the England youth international responded with a series of impactful displays.

Along with executing 2.8 key passes and completing 3.3 dribbles per game, Maddison was fouled 147 times in the Championship last season - comfortably more than any other player - with many defenders finding themselves unable to cope with the way he manipulated both body and ball. The step up to the Premier League has seen Maddison continue in a similar vein - the talented youngster has been fouled 3.7 times per match.

After impressing against Manchester United and scoring against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Maddison has already been tipped for a place in the senior England squad in the near future.

If he continues to progress under Leicester boss Claude Puel, who garnered a reputation for developing young or troubled talent during his time at Nice, the young boy from Coventry may leave Gareth Southgate with no choice but to integrate him into his burgeoning side.