‘Brilliant’ Maddison can do no more to get England call says proud Rodgers

·3 min read

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers insists James Maddison can do no more to earn an England recall.

The midfielder struck his 18th goal of the season in a final-day 4-1 stroll against Southampton.

Maddison, who also has 12 assists this term, has not played for England since his debut against Montenegro in 2019 and Three Lions chief Gareth Southgate names his Nations League squad on Tuesday.

“He can’t do any more (to return to England). He will be delighted with the season he has had,” said Rodgers after Ayoze Perez scored twice and Jamie Vardy also netted.

“He has been absolutely brilliant. He is hungry since that difficult start for him. He has power and quality, he scores today and creates one.

“He’s not tense, he’s free. He is fit and is playing the games. He is doing the running and doing the work. We have other players who need to do more as well and impact the game more but he himself has been absolutely brilliant.

“He is strong defensively, has been aggressive and his football talent is there for everyone to see. Look at his numbers, he has been first class and been, by quite a distance, our best player.”

Leicester finish eighth – four points off the European spots having seen their squad ravaged by injury this season.

Timothy Castagne missed their best chance of the first half when he headed over early and the game only came to life after the break.

Maddison opened the scoring four minutes into the second half when he tapped in after Alex McCarthy saved from Vardy – following two poor Lyanco headers.

Southampton were fuming, though, as they felt Leicester should have given them the ball back as they had been in possession when the play was stopped to attend to a Vardy head injury.

Referee Jon Moss presented the Foxes with the ball for Kasper Schmeichel to launch it long and Lyanco to, twice, make a mess of his clearances.

Vardy added a second with 16 minutes left after good work from Harvey Barnes but Ward-Prowse pulled a goal back from the spot soon after when Youri Tielemans tripped Stuart Armstrong.

Any hopes of a Southampton revival were ended almost immediately when Perez volleyed in Maddison’s cross and the substitute added a fourth in injury time when he converted Ricardo Pereira’s cutback.

“I don’t want to speak about the performance today because we have all seen how this game was going and what happened,” said Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl after finishing 15th.

“When you have the ball and the ref stops the game you get the ball back, today it was different. It’s hard to understand.

“The first goal is the decisive moment in this game. We speak about respect and fair play but it’s not acceptable. What can the referee do? The opponent has to stop pressing.

“The offer I made of ‘let us score a goal from kick-off’ they didn’t take. They pressed us immediately again. It would be a sign and a message to everybody but they didn’t do it. I said to them ‘let us run and score the goal.’

“It was very unnecessary, we saw an intense football game. I don’t want to be a bad loser, we deserved to lose because they were the better team but such a situation changes everything.”