McLean tips ‘arrogant’ Madders for big things

Kenny McLean is not surprised at James Maddison's meteoric rise after an early glimpse of his talent

Kenny McLean is not surprised at James Maddison's meteoric rise after an early glimpse of his talent during a spell together at Aberdeen Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Kenny McLean had first hand experience of the ‘arrogance’ that marks James Maddison out for the top.

Norwich City’s record sale is on course to seal qualification for the Champions League at Leicester, with the Premier League resuming following a lengthy delay due to the global pandemic.

Maddison is also now part of the England set-up and touted with a mega-money transfer to Manchester United.

McLean has reflected on his first impressions of the precocious talent from when the former Canaries’ ace was on loan at previous club Aberdeen back in 2016.

“You could say at that stage he was a bit of a luxury player,” said the Scot. “His ability was scary. After the first session, it was just ‘wow’ because he was something else. He had an arrogance that he knew he was so much better.

“He almost knew he was going to be so much better than that level. He had a lot of confidence.

“He was such a lovely boy as well but I remember up at Ross County one day I gave the ball away and he just turned around and said, ‘give it to me’ and when there was a break in play and we were on the side of the pitch I was giving him some stick.

Most Read

“I just thought the cheek of it. But he came back to Norwich, had an unbelievable season in the Championship, and he is just getting better.”

McLean’s debut season at Carrow Road ended with a Championship winner’s medal, but the midfielder knows the size of the task to avoid relegation ahead of Friday’s resumption against Southampton.

“We are not in the best position but we still have a lot of the teams to play in and around us,” he said, speaking on the latest Open Goal podcast. “Clubs like West Ham, Southampton, Watford. We have a chance. But we know we are in a shocking position. We have played well and not won games at this level. Whereas in the Championship we have more of the ball and we seem to be able to dominate teams.

“It is so different. The Premier League is so unforgiving. If you make a mistake it is a goal. In the Championship even if we conceded we felt we had it within us to go and score at the other end.The quality is all over the pitch.

“Maybe before Christmas we conceded too many poor goals but I think since then we changed to become a bit more solid.”