Southgate on Maddison snub
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
England boss Gareth Southgate felt James Maddison had slipped down the pecking order, after leaving the former Norwich City midfielder out of his European Championship plans.
Maddison's one time City club mate, Ben Godfrey, did earn a first call up to the 33-man preliminary squad on Tuesday, but there was no place for Leicester City FA Cup winner Maddison.
“It is an area of the pitch where we have unbelievable competition for places,” said the Three Lions' chief. “We just feel there are players ahead of James in that area of the pitch.
"He has had a season that unfortunately for him was disrupted by injury and in more recent weeks he has not always been starting.
“I thought it was interesting he has not been taking the set pieces either for Leicester in recent weeks. (Youri) Tielemans has been taking their set plays. I don’t know if there is more to that but, in simple terms, we see other players just ahead of James.”
Southgate will finalise his 26-man squad by June 1, prior to friendlies against Austria and Romania, ahead of the tournament opener at Wembley against Croatia.
City will bank a six figure sum if Godfrey makes a competitive start for his country, and the 23-year-old has moved a step closer following a stand out debut season at Everton since his big money move.
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Godfrey and Brighton’s Ben White were two new faces in the provisional group poised to link up in Middlesbrough this coming weekend at an England training camp.
“I think they are both exciting young defenders,” said Southgate, who opted to leave another former Canary, James Maddison out of his plans. “There are also others we have been looking at, who we really like. Ezri Konza at Aston Villa had a very good season. Fikayo (Tomori) at Milan has done well.
"These two are very flexible. They can play left, right, midfield in Ben White’s case. This is a great opportunity for us to get to know them a little bit better, for them to work with the team.
"It works for everybody. I won’t go into the private conversations I have had with players. There is no way of knowing at this stage how long they will be with us. But it should be a fantastic experience for them.”
Godfrey earned England Under-21 recognition during his time at Norwich and captained the Young Lions earlier this season during their failed European Championship tilt, alongside ex-club mates Max Aarons and Todd Cantwell.