Rio Ferdinand slams Gareth Southgate for his treatment of Tottenham ace James Maddison
In the world of football punditry, Rio Ferdinand is never one to mince his words. This time, the former England international has taken aim at none other than the Three Lions’ gaffer, Gareth Southgate, for what he sees as a grave mishandling of Tottenham star playmaker, James Maddison.
The bone of contention, according to Ferdinand, is Southgate’s puzzling decision to keep Maddison stationed out wide on the left wing, a role far removed from his natural and, some would argue, his best position – the revered Number 10 role.
Ferdinand’s critique stems from his belief that England’s midfield could be substantially bolstered by Maddison’s inclusion in the heart of it. Speaking on “Vibe with Five,” Ferdinand expressed his frustration with Southgate’s persistence in starting Jordan Henderson.
"James Maddison has been the signing of the summer." Discuss 📝 pic.twitter.com/2lk1pVPdRN— Premier League (@premierleague) September 6, 2023
Indeed, the former Liverpool stalwart, while a seasoned campaigner, has been plagued by injury issues in recent times, raising questions about his suitability for the England midfield. In contrast, young talents like Jude Bellingham and the reliable Declan Rice are more than capable of carrying the mantle.
Speaking about the situation, here is what Ferdinand had to say about Southgate’s puzzling decisions
“Even the selection of the team. With Jordan Henderson, what more are you going to learn out of Jordan Henderson? There is Maddison. He has gone to a new club at Spurs. On fire. Maddison is playing left-wing! Release a man like Maddison to be the number ten and give us that extra attacking flair to unlock when we are playing the bigger teams and give us that extra body to play in deeper areas to give us ball retention (against the so-called lesser sides).”
Ferdinand’s argument is not without merit. Maddison, who plied his trade admirably at Leicester City before joining the North London club, has indeed hit the ground running at Tottenham.
With two goals and two assists in his first four games, Maddison’s creative prowess is undeniable. Playing him out of position is akin to stifling the artistic brilliance of a renowned painter by limiting them to a monochrome palette.
Ferdinand’s words are a call to arms, a plea for Southgate to reconsider his approach. In a world where international success is determined by the finest margins, one would think that a talent as vibrant as Maddison would be embraced and nurtured to flourish.
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Southgate has his favourites and always seems to put them ahead of the team. It’s high time the situation starts changing. Let’s see if it does.