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Gareth Southgate minded to gamble on an England debut for James Maddison this week

Matt Law
Leicester's James Maddison is set for an England debut this week - Leicester City FC

James Maddison is in line to be handed his England debut over the course of the next two Euro 2020 qualifiers against Montenegro and Kosovo.

England manager Gareth Southgate has kept Maddison in his squad, despite the Leicester City star visiting a casino after being released from the last squad in October, and will be forced to overhaul his midfield for the game against Montenegro that can clinch Euro 2020 qualification.

Ross Barkley, who started and scored in England’s last game against Bulgaria, has been forced to withdraw from the squad, while Jordan Henderson is suspended for the Montenegro game and will not report for international duty until Wednesday.

That leaves Southgate with a big selection call over his midfield for Thursday night’s game at Wembley with Maddison pushing hard for his first cap. If it does not come against Montenegro, then it will almost certainly be handed to him in Kosovo on Sunday.

Southgate warned Maddison that he wants players who are “high performance, low maintenance” and the 22-year-old responded with a superb performance in Leicester’s victory over Arsenal.

Maddison is still expected to be reminded by Southgate that he must be careful in regards to how he behaves and accept the extra responsibility of being an England international. But his club performances have made him impossible to leave out and Maddison is set to be rewarded with a first appearance in an England shirt over this international break.

Other than Maddison, Southgate can pick from midfielders Declan Rice, Harry Winks, who hopes to keep his place, Fabian Delph, Mason Mount and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the Montenegro game. But Delph has been suffering with a hamstring issue which is being monitored ahead of Thursday and Mount this week suffered an ankle injury which he managed to recover from in time to face Crystal Palace.