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Tottenham season review 2023/24: James Maddison

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James Maddison debut season – A spark of brilliance with room to grow

Tottenham Hotspur made a headline transfer when they acquired midfielder James Maddison from Leicester City in the summer transfer window. This transfer proved to be the first sign of Ange Postecoglou pulling, something that Spurs fans started to see come true every time the North Londoners took the field.

Signing someone who not only operates in pockets but also is potent with attacking sequences in a quite direct way is very astute to what the Australian gaffer wanted to bring in his creative midfielder. In James Maddison, they signed someone who is not only a Premier League-proven talent but also someone who understands operating in pockets and the direct style of play that the Foxes operated with Jamie Vardy bisecting the defenders on his runs. 

On paper, things fit in like that last piece of the puzzle, although, on the contrary, it was the first jigsaw piece that Ange chose to pick. 

In his first season, James Maddison has not only made headway at Spurs but also shown glimpses of greatness that the club could achieve with him operating in that eight/ten hybrid role. 

A start like none other

James Maddison signed for Tottenham Hotspur from Leicester City. (Image: official Spurs website)
James Maddison signed for Tottenham Hotspur from Leicester City. (Image: official Spurs website)

Moving clubs could be a tricky feat for even the best of players; however, rarely do you see players fit in with the new employers like they have been there for years. That is the sort of impact Madison had when he swapped King Power for North London. 

He not only fitted in seamlessly but also enabled the offensive sequences for the Australian gaffer in such a way that everything that Tottenham did went through the England international.

This made Spurs supporters dream; never have they seen such talent in a creative setup since Eriksen left White Hart Lane. Maddison was handed a free role in the Tottenham setup to ensure that he gets to explore his creative depth in the setup. He came through as the man responsible for not only connecting passes but also pulling the trigger on the final pass or pre-final pass. 

In Madison, Tottenham got a pre-made star who knows how to handle pressure and fandom, something he suddenly took to when he signed for Spurs. 

Is he beyond the ordinary, though?

Maddison's debut season at Tottenham Hotspur has been a tale of two halves.
Maddison’s debut season at Tottenham Hotspur has been a tale of two halves.

When things are going too well, there is to be a heckle just around the corner, just like a storm follows a calm sea. This is what happened to Madison when he suffered an ankle injury in the concluding month of the last season. He spent three months on the sidelines with the aforementioned injury, and this meant his employers suffered his absence duly.

Tottenham tried playing Dejan Kulusevski in the middle of the park when the England international was injured, which worked to a certain extent; however, this made way to a conversation about signing a backup and/or a possible competitor to James Maddison.

While injury concerns continued to haunt Spurs, Maddison’s injury return was equally haunting. He could not press like he used to, his passes were not as direct, and Spurs suffered overall marginal wear and tear because of this. 

This led to compounded frustrations for Spurs faithful as Ange chose to bench him as a massive knock to his competitive self. However, he did come back to playing like his old self in the final couple of fixtures of the season, something that would keep Tottenham supporters hopeful for next season.

An after-thought to Madison’s 2023–24 season 

From hero to doubt and back again. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
From hero to doubt and back again. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

It was a season that showed he could become an important part of what Ange is building at Tottenham. With nine assists despite the injury, he showed that he can lay through the creative pressure at N17. However, that doesn’t mean the Lilywhites should not look for a backup in the position.

Maddison has been an important part of Spurs season, especially in the final third, complemented by his underlying quality from set-pieces. You get someone who will more often than not work the keeper on free-kicks and corners. 

Tottenham and Ange would demand more from him in terms of goal-scoring, as a tally of four goals is way below his capabilities. Someone playing in the creative pockets for the Spurs should not only score more but also ooze more halo, something that should come with time. 

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Overall, Maddison had a decent season. We would rate it a 6.5/10, with massive strides of improvement needed in various aspects of his game if Tottenham want to compete for silverware.

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