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Brentford boss Thomas Frank identifies James Maddison as Leicester’s key player

Maddison has scored nine goals and provided five assists this season.

Thomas Frank
Thomas Frank

Brentford manager Thomas Frank has singled out James Maddison as Leicester’s main attacking threat ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash at the Gtech Community Stadium.

The Dane was full of praise for the Foxes’ top scorer who has netted nine goals and provided five assists in all competitions this campaign.

“(James) Maddison, clearly (a threat for Leicester) no doubt if we want to get anything out of this game we need to close down Maddison. But not only Maddison, I think also (Harvey) Barnes, I also think (Kelechi) Iheanacho, I also think Tete,” Frank said.

“But I think especially Maddison, he’s their key player but I think one of their big strengths is that there is always goals in Leicester, always goals and that is a massive strength.”

Maddison was selected in England’s squad on Thursday for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine along with Brentford striker Ivan Toney.

Seventeen players within Gareth Southgate’s party represent ‘big six’ clubs – a stat Frank believes shows the competitiveness of international selection.

“I think the England squad is so strong, I think the competition for the positions are so strong,” he said.

“I don’t think it has anything to do with top six teams and that it’s easier to get in the squad (if you play for one) but I guess if you’re in a top six team you play for a potentially bigger club and it’s more difficult to get into those teams so maybe that gives them a small advantage (to be selected for England).

“But if the players are good enough no matter if they play for Brentford or Leicester or any club and they perform then I haven’t seen a coach that doesn’t pick the best players and give them time and opportunities.”

Toney is the second-highest English goalscorer in the Premier League this season, sitting four behind Harry Kane’s 20 strikes.

Frank has faith that his striker is cut out for the international stage.

“There’s other aspects, a new environment, new team-mates, new coach that he needs to adapt to,” Frank said.

“I’m convinced he will do that but international level and international football I don’t see it as higher (level than the Premier League).

“Great players have the ability to overcome setbacks, it’s key to their high level because in football there’s always setbacks and that is if you are (Lionel) Messi, (Cristiano) Ronaldo or (Erling) Haaland, you don’t score in one game then that’s a setback and then you need to overcome that.

“Sometimes it’s a big injury or a loan and the resilience and the mentality to get through that. Mentality and resilience, Ivan has got that in abundance.”

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