Gareth Southgate to hand first England start to in-form star against Ukraine

Southgate could make some changes against Ukraine
Southgate could make some changes against Ukraine / Michael Regan/GettyImages

England manager Gareth Southgate is set to hand a first senior international start to Leicester City midfielder James Maddison.

The Three Lions welcome Ukraine to Wembley on Sunday evening for their second Euro 2024 qualifier.

Southgate's side made the best possible start to their qualification campaign with a 2-1 win away at Italy in a rematch of the 2020 final. Declan Rice grabbed England's opener before Harry Kane became the country's all-time leading scorer with a goal from the penalty spot.

That trip to Italy was expected to be England's toughest game in the group, and Southgate is now in line to make a couple of changes to his side for Sunday's visit of Ukraine.

It is being widely reported Maddison will make his first ever start for England, winning just a second international cap.

He has not played for the Three Lions since his debut in November 2019 when he came on as a substitute in a 7-0 win against Montenegro.



Maddison was overlooked for Southgate's 26-player squad for Euro 2020 despite an impressive couple of campaigns at club level with Leicester.

Though the Foxes are struggling in a fight against relegation this season, Maddison has rediscovered his best form and was named in England's squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

He suffered a knee injury on the eve of the tournament and was a doubt to even travel to Qatar. Maddison did not play a single minute at the World Cup regardless.

Meanwhile, Ivan Toney could make his England debut, though he is likely to start on the bench against Ukraine.

The Brentford striker has only been outscored by Erling Haaland (28) and international teammate Harry Kane (21) in the Premier League this term, with 16 goals to his name.

James Maddison England record

As mentioned, Maddison has played just once for England before, appearing from the bench in a 7-0 hammering of Montenegro.

After this, Southgate did not name Maddison in another Three Lions squad until this winter's World Cup. The only matchday squad the midfielder was part of was England's loss in the quarter-finals to France.

James Maddison 2022/23 stats

Maddison has been doing his best to help Leicester in their battle to beat the drop.

In 19 Premier League games, he has scored nine goals and laid on five assists - only Toney has more goal contributions this season of players outside the 'big six'.

Maddison has missed six games for Leicester this campaign through two different knee problems, with the first seeing him return to England World Cup training after the tournament had kicked off.