JAMES MADDISON has celebrated his call-up to Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad by posting a throwback picture in full Three Lions face paint.

The Leicester midfielder, 25, forced his way back into the England set-up nearly three years on from his one and only senior cap, which came in the 7-0 win over Montenegro in 2019.

Maddison has shared a throwback photo of his younger self wearing Three Lions face paint

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Maddison has shared a throwback photo of his younger self wearing Three Lions face paintCredit: Twitter / Madders10
Maddison only has one England cap to his name coming back in 2019

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Maddison only has one England cap to his name coming back in 2019Credit: PA
England boss Southgate selected Maddison after an undeniably brilliant 2022 which saw him play a role in 27 goals

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England boss Southgate selected Maddison after an undeniably brilliant 2022 which saw him play a role in 27 goalsCredit: AFP

27 goal contributions in 2022, with ten of those coming in the 22-23 season, forced Southgate’s hand.

Maddison was selected for the 26-man World Cup squad ahead of attackers such as Jarrod Bowen, Ivan Toney, Jadon Sancho and Tammy Abraham.

And to celebrate the good news, Foxes ace Maddison has shared a throwback picture of his younger self donning Three Lions face paint.

Maddison tweeted: “It hasn’t sunk in… I’m going to The World Cup. Dreams really do come true.”

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Fans were thrilled to see Maddison’s inclusion.

Fans were sharpening their knives in the days before the announcement just in case Southgate snubbed the midfielder.

One responded to Maddison’s post saying: “Much love James, absolutely deserved.”

Another said: “Deserved more than any other player on that teamsheet.”

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Maddison is England's best playmaker heading to Qatar
Maddison is England’s best playmaker heading to Qatar

A third tweeted: “Bro, this is what football is all about. You deserve this moment and more.

“I will be cheering you on because you are my man! MADDERS!!!”

Three Lions boss Southgate admitted Maddison was in his thinking weeks before Thursday’s squad announcement.

Southgate said: “A lot of people were suggesting he wouldn’t be with us but we decided a couple of weeks ago that he would, but we wouldn’t tell him that then.

“He is playing really well and he is a good player, we have always said that.

“He has earned the right and we think he can give us something slightly different than others we have.

“At various stages there have been considerations and debates about James.

“Ahead of the Euros I don’t think he was in contention and then probably a fair debate about including him in September.

“But he is playing well as any attacking player in the country.

“He has always been up against good players, he is playing exceptionally well.

“Not enough players play forward these days. He can score goals from distance.”

Southgate was asked how the Leicester star reacted to the call and he said: “He was delighted.

“I had some very difficult calls emotionally at the other end of the spectrum, so it was nice to give myself a bit of an enjoyable end to that.”

Southgate’s recollection of Maddison’s reaction has been echoed by Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers.

Rodgers sent his player into his office to take in the news and shortly after Maddison returned to the pitch beaming.

The Foxes boss said: “He had a missed call from Gareth just before training.

“I said to him to pop into my office and make the call. He spoke to him and then came out full of joy of the world. It was a great moment.”

Rodgers added: “It’s wonderful news for James and his family. I’m delighted for Gareth to have that talent available.

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“His level and consistency and his work ethic, and what he has proven over this last year, he’s shown he’s one of the best players in the Premier League.

“Credit to him and his team-mates, he wouldn’t be able to get there without them.”

England's 26-man squad for the World Cup
England’s 26-man squad for the World Cup





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