​If Harry Maguire costs £80m, it'll take a nine-figure sum to prise former teammate James Maddison away from Leicester City.

The midfielder is four years Maguire's junior, improves with every passing game and has all the attributes needed to thrive at the top of the sport. 

The Foxes brought him in for £20m in the summer of 2018 and they knew right away that they were on to a winner. Sunday's Man of the Match display in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea proved what a bargain that sum is.

James Maddison

In his debut ​Premier League campaign, the 22-year-old missed just two matches, collecting seven goals and assists apiece as ​Leicester recovered from a shaky start to finish a respectable ninth.

Unsurprisingly, all of Maddison's scores last term came via his wand of a right boot, the starlet terrifying opposing goalkeepers with his unerring accuracy from dead-ball scenarios.

They know what he is going to do - send an arcing effort arrowing towards the top corner - yet shot-stoppers are still powerless to prevent the England Under-21 international finding the net from free-kicks.

That is the sign of an elite-level player; outclassing opponents, even when they are primed and ready. His talent is of such a high order that defenders are forever at his mercy.

One thing that makes Maddison so difficult to tame is his proficiency from long-range. 34% of his attempts hit the target in 2018/19, a mightily impressive statistic given his tendency to let fly from far out.

There's only so much a side can do to keep one man from trying his luck. The ex-​Norwich City playmaker will invariably get opportunities to shoot, making him a superb weapon for Brendan Rodgers to have at his disposal.

However, it is not only the Northern Irishman who benefits from having Maddison in the midlands. The player himself would do well to find a better coach to help hone his skill-set and ready him for the years to come.

Wherever he has laid his hat, Rodgers has always held strong rapport with the youth, regularly handing academy graduates chances in the senior side and managing their fledgling egos well.

James Maddison

Despite his lofty reputation, Maddison is still just a kid. He needs a reliable tutor if he is to realise his potential. He needs someone to make sure his confidence doesn't become arrogance. He needs Rodgers.

When still in the Liverpool job, the 46-year-old worked wonders for a budding Philippe Coutinho, as well as nurturing the likes of Raheem Sterling. Of course, there was the tetchy Luis Suarez to keep an eye on, too.

A potentially volatile cocktail of big characters and wide-eyed youngsters was managed with masterful poise. Maddison appears to fit into both categories, meaning Rodgers' presence should be hugely beneficial.

Nevertheless, the midfield prodigy cannot do it all on his own. To kick on and continue his progression, he must be plying his trade at the highest levels, and Leicester can take him there.

They have lost just three of their 12 matches during Rodgers' reign and have been tipped to mount a serious challenge against the big six in the upcoming campaign, with some suggesting they could even push for a ​Champions League qualification spot.

Though such talk may be slightly optimistic, there is evidently reason to be hopeful as a Foxes supporter. The 2016 Premier League champions are looking lively and it could be Maddison who drives their surge to the top.

He has the kind of God-given ability which makes a footballer instantly stand out on a pitch. Everything comes with ease to him. Whether he's distributing inch-perfect balls to teammates or rifling shots past hapless keepers, the boy makes it look effortless.

What's more, Maddison has a footballing brain. It's a bit clichéd, but there's a reason people use the term. Some players have an unteachable, invaluable aptitude for reading the game.


The fact it cannot be taught is what makes it such a commodity. Footballers with this gift are game-changers, visionaries. Speed of thought, imagination, perception - they're a cut above the rest of those on the pitch.

Maddison's statistics in his maiden top flight season show the importance of these skills. A raw, untamed talent stepped into an incredibly hostile arena and emerged relatively unscathed.

13 big chances were created, he was heavily involved in all of Leicester's attacks, had 84% passing accuracy and became an increasingly influential part of the Foxes' game plan.

It's not hard to overlook how impressive a return that is for a Premier League debutant. Maddison was immense, in large part due to his intelligence as a footballer. With the guidance of Rodgers and several more years amongst the best, he will reach giddy heights in the beautiful game.