Tottenham Hotspur

‘Struggling’: £170k-a/w Tottenham star slammed for getting in national teammate’s way

James Maddison and Jack Grealish ‘got in each other’s way’ as England beat Australia 1-0 on Friday night as the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder was ‘struggling’ at Wembley.

According to BBC commentator Paul Robinson, Maddison did not perform up to the 26-year-old’s customary standards. He frequently felt the need to go into a large space, which made it unlikely that Grealish would flourish throughout the friendly. The night of Madison came to an end after 73 minutes.

As England hosted Australia, Gareth Southgate gave Tottenham star Maddison just his fourth start in five appearances to date. The friendly was also only his second time playing a key part for the Three Lions. All of his other games in 2023 will be on the left wing.

England did not see the Maddison that Tottenham now relish

At Wembley, though, Maddison replaced Ollie Watkins as the primary architect, with Grealish starting on the left wing. Watkins’ goal in the 57th minute was likewise made by the Manchester City maestro. But in the 61st minute, Southgate hooked Grealish to insert Marcus Rashford.

Watkins’ turn of Grealish’s attempt gave England the opening goal, which ended up being the game’s only score.Before the 33-cap maestro attempted to score, Trent Alexander-Arnold found the 28-year-old with a deep ball into the area. Watkins’ wide strike allowed him to score.

Maddison nearly enjoyed an early chance to score for England as Connor Gallagher drilled a cross through Australia’s six-yard box. But the Chelsea midfielder’s ball narrowly missed the Tottenham star. Maddison also later merited an assist after freeing Watkins through on goal.

The £170k-a-week playmaker threaded a perfectly weighted pass through for Watkins. But it would go to waste when Mat Ryan forced the Aston Villa striker wide and his shot found the post. It would prove to be Maddison’s best contribution throughout the second half, though.

What has Robinson said about Maddison against Australia?

The Maddison that Tottenham has enjoyed since his transfer from Leicester City in July was not present in England. In eight Premier League appearances for Spurs, the Coventry-born playmaker has fashioned out two goals and five assists. Even at Arsenal, he provided two assists to preserve a 2-2 tie.

But against Australia, Maddison failed to convince Southgate that the Tottenham player ought to start when the England manager selects his strongest lineup against Italy on Tuesday. Southgate changed his lineup for the Three Lions’ match against the Azzurri on Friday in an effort to secure a spot at Euro 2024.

Particularly the former England goalkeeper Robinson did not think well of Maddison’s efforts at Wembley. He criticized the £40 million star for ruining Grealish’s night against the Socceroos.

On BBC Radio 5 Live, Robinson remarked, “I think James Maddison is drifting into Jack Grealish’s space because he is struggling.” They are obstructing each other’s progress.

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