Belfast Telegraph

Leicester star James Maddison considering international switch to Republic of Ireland

Leicester City’s James Maddison in action against Chelsea (Steven Paston/PA)
Leicester City’s James Maddison in action against Chelsea (Steven Paston/PA)

By David Sneyd

The FAI have begun tentative attempts to recruit Leicester City's James Maddison after receiving some encouragement about his possible willingness to switch allegiances.

The 22-year-old was previously on the radar of Ireland's underage scouts during his early days at Coventry City and Norwich City before being called up by England's U-21s in 2017.

Maddison was also included in the senior squad by manager Gareth Southgate for the Nations League games with Spain and Croatia last October, but failed to make an appearance.

It is now understood that FAI officials have been made aware that a switch could be possible should he be overlooked for next month's Euro 2020 qualifying games with Bulgaria and Kosovo.

Ireland boss Mick McCarthy has also been informed of the situation and is keen to try and help get Maddison, who qualifies through a grandparent, on board - even if the process of completing the switch would be particularly complicated.

The Leicester man has been in fine form so far this term, impressing in both draws against Wolves and Chelsea ahead of today's clash with Sheffield United.

Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers revealed earlier this week that he has not held any discussions with Southgate regarding Maddison's development, but heaped praise on his ability.

"I haven't spoken to Gareth. Since I've come in, I've been so impressed by James," said Rodgers.

"He's got a great football brain, technically he's a high level, everyone sees chances he creates, how he finds space and creates opportunities for others, and he's tactically improving all the time. He has confidence as he puts the work in."

Irish Independent

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