Leicester City manager James Maddison is braced to miss out on Gareth Southgate’s 26-man World Cup squad, with the decision having already been made according to multiple reports.
The England boss will reveal his final squad on Thursday afternoon, though Reece James has already been ruled out of the running after picking up an injury during Chelsea’s Champions League group stage game against AC Milan last month.
He, Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips were all in a race to prove their fitness before the tournament began, but while the Manchester City pair could yet feature having declared themselves fit, James lagged behind in his recovery and the burden of carrying three injured players into the tournament proved too off-putting for Southgate.
It means that Ben White is expected to be called up, with the Arsenal man dropped from the squad for September’s internationals but in red-hot form for Arsenal, where he has been playing at right back. Whether he takes the place of the not yet fit Kyle Walker on the right side of Southgate’s back three against Iran in 12 days remains to be seen.
The major controversy, however, surrounds James Maddison.
Leicester City’s talismanic midfielder has had a hand in the most goals of any Englishman in the Premier League across the last 12 months, but was overlooked for the September internationals, and according to multiple reports, is set to be overlooked once more in Southgate’s 26 man squad.
Maddison caused controversy when he pulled out of the England squad due to illness in 2019, only to be later spotted in a casino on the night he was due to play. He made his debut the following month, but has not been a part of the England set up since.
Should he be overlooked as is expected, it will raise serious questions around Gareth Southgate’s claims to pick on form and not on reputation, especially given the inclusion of stalwarts Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw at the other end of the pitch.