James Maddison’s journey towards senior international recognition has been a slow one and it suffered another set back during the past few days.
Having spent last season with the Under 21 setup, despite an impressive maiden campaign in the Premier League, Maddison has made his way into the senior camp this time around.
But in the first international break of the season, he was an unused substitute, with Ross Barkley starting both matches and Mason Mount the man chosen off the bench.
And Maddison pulled out of the squad with illness last week, before Mount was handed his first Three Lions start in the 2-1 defeat against Czech Republic.
Maddison was then warned by Gareth Southgate after he was spotted in a casino following his release from international duty. It must be said that there can be a false perception of Maddison as cocky given his supreme self-confidence – and this incident won’t help.
Barkley was then reintroduced to the England side last night and netted two goals in a 6-0 thumping of Bulgaria as Southgate got the reaction he was looking for.
That definitively keeps Maddison in third place in the pecking order of England playmakers, with World Cup 2018 goalscorers Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard hopeful of rediscovering their form.
It has been a bad international week for Maddison, who looks to be on the back foot in terms of muscling into the England midfield. All he can do is keep his club form up, buoyed by the fact his two main rivals play for the same club and will seldom play together.