Canaries boss Farke has been the ‘perfect fit’ in helping Maddison return to the England set-up
- Credit: PA
James Maddison has thanked Norwich boss Daniel Farke for the role he has played in helping him earn his first England Under-21s call-up.
The Canaries star is training with the Young Lions at the FA’s St George’s Park national training centre ahead of a European U21 Championship qualifier in Ukraine on Friday.
The 20-year-old has established himself as a Championship player, scoring four goals in 17 matches, and is thankful to Farke for giving him the chance to shine.
“This season, I’ve been enjoying my football with Norwich so much,” Maddison said. “Daniel Farke has been a very good manager for me and he’s a very good coach.
“He seems to like my style of play and the type of player that I am and I also like the way in which he talks about the game and likes to coach, so it’s been a perfect fit for me and I’ve played a lot of minutes this season.
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“That’s all I’ve wanted, to be out there and playing games every week, that’s what it’s about and it’s why we do the job.
“For now though, I just want to try and impress the manager here and I want to get a feel for it as we’ve got such a talented squad, full of Premier League quality. You can see it in training, it’s a step up and I’m relishing it.”
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Maddison did receive a call-up from U21s boss Aidy Boothroyd when he was in charge of the U20s in 2016 but injury prevented him winning his first cap as a youth international.
The Coventry City academy product – whose development is also reportedly being monitored by the Republic of Ireland due to his family roots – admits he is thrilled to return to the England set-up.
“I know it’s a cliché to say, but it’s everybody’s dream to get called up to play for their country, especially at U21 level and it’s a proud moment for myself,” the Canaries star continued.
“It just re-iterates the good form I’m in with my club at the moment and it was a great moment for me and my family.
“I had a little taste of life with England a few years ago when I was called up for an U20s game with Canada. I was meant to play in the first match at St George’s Park, but unfortunately I pulled my hip flexor the day before the game and missed out, so that was disappointing at the time but I just hope to get the chance of a cap this time.
“I had no inkling at all about the call up. I mean, you obviously keep an eye on all of the England squads when you’re in form and I knew I wouldn’t be far away because of that but it still came as a surprise. I’ve scored a couple of good goals and managed to play some good games and when I got the call-up I was delighted.
“The first person I spoke to was (FA technical director) Dan Ashworth and then Aidy called me afterwards, but it was great to let my loved ones know straight away and everyone was really happy for me.”
City signed the playmaker from Coventry in January 2016 in a deal reportedly worth up to £3.5m, before letting him return to the Sky Blues on loan for the rest of the season.
Maddison played 43 games for his hometown club in total, scoring five goals, so already had a decent amount of experience before joining Norwich.
But he credits an additional spell with Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen at the start of last season, scoring twice in 17 matches, with helping him to make the breakthrough.
“Another important milestone for me was going up to Scotland and joining Aberdeen on loan,” Maddison continued in a lengthy blog post for TheFA.com.
“I was struggling to get minutes for Norwich at the time, so I asked if I could go out on loan and the gaffer at the time thought Aberdeen would be the best place because it’s a physical league and with the type of player I am, it would be good for my development.
“And it was a really good spell for me and I look back with great pleasure to be honest, I enjoyed it, there was a good set of lads, good manager and I played a lot of minutes which is what you want when you’re a youngster.”
The U21s take on Ukraine at 4pm on Friday as they aim to remain four points clear at the top of their qualifying group.