MANCHESTER, England ( Associated Press) – James Madison was the unexpected signing that England manager Gareth Southgate called for the World Cup on Tuesday.
The Leicester striker has barely made a single appearance for the national team, after coming on as a substitute in the European Championship qualifier against Montenegro in 2019. But he earned a spot for Qatar after his strong showing for Leicester this season, scoring six goals. And four help.
But Madison still wasn’t seen as a real substitute to be called up and speculation prior to the official announcement suggested he would be dropped.
Southgate had to call to inform him of the summons.
“I had to talk to James this morning because there was a lot of speculation that he wouldn’t go with us,” Southgate said. “We decided to do a couple of weeks that he was going to be called. We weren’t supposed to tell him at that time.”
Kyle Walker was also involved at Southgate despite the Manchester City defender having groin surgery last month. His club mate Calvin Phillips also made the list after undergoing shoulder surgery in September.
Phillips played for the first time since surgery when he came on as a substitute in a City League Cup match against Chelsea on Wednesday.
Although Southgate took the risk with both, he gave his reasons for ousting Reece James. Chelsea is recovering from a right back knee injury.
“I was not going to be fit, if all goes well, until the later stages of the tournament,” he said. “A lot of uncertainty. I didn’t mind taking on a player who wasn’t going to be available. I think that would be considered arrogant in some circles.”
Southgate decided to bring in Arsenal defender Ben White after James was dropped. And striker Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) was taken into account after falling off the national team’s radar last year.
The British would debut on November 21, measure themselves against Iran, and four days later they would clash with the United States. They will conclude Group B against Wales on 29 November.
Southgate appealed to the 19 players who were part of the team with which he reached the final of the European Championship last year.
Despite being dropped as a substitute at Manchester United, Harry Maguire received the national team’s vote of confidence.
“He is one of our centre-backs,” Southgate said.
Archeros: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Newcastle), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Conor Cody (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ben White (Arsenal)
Volanres: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Connor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Calvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (West Ham)
Delanteros: Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham), James Maddison (Leicester), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Callum Wilson ( Newcastle)