Wednesday, 21 February, 2024

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James Maddison set to return for Leicesters crunch game against Southampton

James Maddison set to return for Leicester’s crunch game against Southampton

James Maddison is ready to return for Leicester’s crunch relegation battle at Southampton.

The forward has recovered from the illness which kept him out of last week’s 1-0 defeat to Arsenal.

He also missed Tuesday’s 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Blackburn but has trained ahead of Saturday’s trip to St Mary’s.

Maddison’s season has been hampered by knee injuries since November but he is primed to help lead the Foxes away from danger.

“James should be fine, hopefully he gets through the rest of the week OK,” said boss Brendan Rodgers.

“He is a very important player for us but it is about the team, James gives another dimension to the team and he is important but ultimately it’s a team effort.

“Top players make the others better and if you look at any team – look at Casemiro when he comes in for Manchester United – it’s no coincidence when he plays they look a much different team. Why? Because he’s a top player.

“That’s where you judge them and that’s where James has grown to. James is a very influential player for us but it cannot just be about him. Others have to step forward and show the personality, the work and belief he does when he plays.

“What he does, when playing, that spreads around the team. He never hides from the ball, he has that courage to accept that responsibility and that will get the team playing but it’s not just his, it’s everyone’s.”

Youri Tielemans (ankle) is out for six weeks, James Justin (Achilles) is sidelined while Jonny Evans (thigh) also remains absent.

The Foxes are three points above the relegation zone, after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Arsenal, and six ahead of rock-bottom Southampton.

Rodgers remains confident his men will beat the drop but insisted they need to show their desire.

“We have 14 games in the league left where we have to play with a maximum desire and pick the hungriest team to get results,” he said.

“It’s a big game, you can’t hide from that. This is a big game. We have 14 games where we have to rely on ourselves.

“This is a league where you can get punished and that’s been the frustrating thing.

“We had Aston Villa and Tottenham which were great performances and then we drop off that intensity level. If you do that you’ll always be in with a chance of losing.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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