James Maddison – A Relatively Unknown Winter Recruit

James Maddison – A Relatively Unknown Winter Recruit
Feb 26, 2016

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James Maddison joined Norwich City from Coventry City deep into the January transfer window on deadline day – when most City fans thought all business had been completed. He will stay at the Ricoh Arena on loan for the rest of the season before joining up at Carrow Road.

He joined in January along with Ben Godfrey, a young player who caught the eyes of many before Norwich stepped in and signed him before anyone else could. Maddison is now one of an impressive crop of youth players at Norwich now with the likes of Josh Murphy, Jacob Murphy (currently on loan at Coventry with Maddison), Carlton Morris and Louis Thompson, amongst others.

The 19-year-old is a player most, I included, hadn’t heard much of before but after speaking to a handful of Coventry fans, I quickly realised what a coup it was. It was even more satisfying when seeing Liverpool were reportedly scouting him ahead of a summer offer, only for us to sign him hours later.

Following the move, Alex Neil has also revealed to the Eastern Daily Press why Norwich decided a late pursuit for the promising midfielder, he said:

“We went after him aggressively. I think the fact we left it so late in the window certainly played into our favour.

“If we had gone earlier we would have most likely lost him to a bigger team. I know there was one team in particular who were aggressively trying to not stop the deal but hi-jack it and we managed to get it across the line.”

Despite the signing being completed with the future in mind, we may see Maddison included next season, Neil reveals.

“The bottom line is if he is ready and good enough it doesn’t matter what age he is,” he said.

“He just has to be better or as good as the lads already here. There is no point in introducing young players if they are not as good. Physically, we need to do some work with him initially but there is no question about his talent.”

After researching the player for more information and speaking to a handful of Coventry fans, I was told he is a player who can create something from nothing. From what I’ve seen, I’d agree. He looks to be a player who is most comfortable in a free role behind a striker, a player who has a good first touch, an impressive range of passing and such confidence in beating an opponent in a one-on-one situation. He has the ability to ghost past players at ease.

Earlier in the month, Tony Mowbray the current Coventry City manager, spoke of Maddison to the Coventry Telegraph and described Maddison as,

“A kid who loves to play football.

He went on to speak of Maddison’s desire to finish on a high with the Sky Blues.

“He was adamant he remained here for the rest of the season so he can help us achieve our ambitions.”

Twitter alone showed just how big of a piece Maddison is to Coventry’s development, fans fury was met with a series of explosive tweets towards the club’s official account, with the owners the prime target. One of many unhappy Coventry fans tweeted:

Although some are still left frustrated with the move, understandable with the off-the-field problems and the sale of Callum Wilson in 2014, many have come to terms with it. Most now realise how important the move can be for his career. Like most of them said – he’s been one of their best players this season.

A ring of ‘I told you so’ was also shared a lot via social media, as the transfer came to no surprise with the fans expressing their displeasure to the club’s current owners.

The transfer has and will undoubtedly be hard for the Sky Blues supporters and the club as they plan for the future following a series of off-the-field ongoings which have overshadowed the players’ performances, but that’s football. We know Maddison loves the club, but he’s taken a step to improve his career.

It’s impressive to see how comfortable he’s been with being a key player at such a young age and is confident in himself without being losing sight – like a lot of young players do.

The move to Norwich, I think, will prove to be an astute one. With the likes of Liverpool and Spurs knocking on the door and the temptation of moving to a bigger club for more money, many players would have taken the ‘easier’ move.

A move to Carrow Road could be the perfect move for him; the potential of occasional Premier League football next season, possible first team Championship game time (if Norwich are to be relegated), the possibility of being Wes Hoolahan’s successor in the near future (a player who’s 34 in May) and joining a club who’re planning for the future, managed by young Alex Neil.

So far this season this midfielder has appeared 15 times for the Sky Blues in all competitions, scoring three goals and assisting twice. He’s only three appearances away from last season’s total which is impressive considering he suffered a lengthy three month lay off after suffering ligament damage in his ankle in September.

With another 15 games left of the League 1 season, Maddison is expected to overtake last season’s total by some way, whilst showing big steps in development in his performances over the past 12 months.

With Hoolahan ageing and the continuation of Maddison’s progress, we could see him in a yellow & green shirt next season at Carrow Road. Although it is likely he’ll be loaned out again with Coventry boss Tony Mowbray expressing his hope to sign Maddison on loan again next season.

This one looks like a very shrewd signing from Alex Neil, he’s definitely a player to keep an eye on.

 

Would you like to see Maddison involved in Norwich City’s first team next season? Or does he need a season out on loan?

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