James Maddison hit back at questions over his attitude in an awkward exchange with Gary Neville after Leicester’s 4-0 victory over Nottingham Forest.
The Foxes star bagged two goals and an assist to further his claim for a place in the England squad for the 2022 World Cup next month.
Some have suggested Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate has a problem with Maddison’s character, given his continued exclusion despite outscoring most England forwards.
Former Manchester United defender Neville put those claims to Maddison on Monday Night Football.
Neville said: “You’ve done loads of interviews with us over the last couple of years, you’re a bubbly personality, great character…
“But you must be really disappointed and hurt by some of the suggestions that you wouldn’t be a good traveller if you were in the team, and you would be 18th, 19th man.
“Does that get to you a little bit? And how do you answer that?”
Maddison insisted he had not noticed any such criticism – but would be insulted by anyone who scrutinised his attitude.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 3, 2022
The 25-year-old said: “Yeah, well I’ve never seen anything like that but that’s almost questioning my personality and professionalism which is obviously quite insulting.
“I’m not sure… I’ve never seen anything like that…”
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher butted in and joked the only person questioning Maddison’s character was Neville.
“It was just him, James!” Carragher quipped to lighten the conversation, though it was clear Maddison didn’t take it to heart.
And Neville explained: “I’m just willing to ask the difficult questions, James!
“These two aren’t, you know what I mean?”
Maddison did admit he is desperate to make the England squad for Qatar 2022 and vowed to keep working towards it.
He said: “It is hard to answer because you want to say the right thing and not the wrong thing, but that is an ambition of mine, a goal of mine.
“I am a football man, I watch international football and an opportunity at that level is something I desire and one I know I would have an impact at and one I hope will come my way at some point.”
He then added: “I will keep working hard, I have got to have the mindset of forcing my way in because those players at the big clubs are in at the minute and they are top players, but I think there could be a space for me.
“So I will keep working hard and producing performances like that tonight and see where it leads me.”
OFFER OF THE DAY
Bet365: Bet £10 Get £50 In Free Bets – CLAIM HERE
Open account offer. Bet £10 & Get £50 in Free Bets for new customers at bet365. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of qualifying bets. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply 18+ Begambleaware.org