Leicester playmaker James Maddison to be deployed on the left wing as England kick off against Ukraine | Football updates

Leicester City’s James Maddison is finally set to make his eagerly anticipated first start for England against Ukraine at Wembley on Sunday. The playmaker was called up to the World Cup squad, but an injury prevented him from playing a single minute in Qatar. Since making his international debut as a substitute three-and-a-half years ago, Maddison has missed out on opportunities due to injuries and selection dilemmas. However, his attitude during the last camp, remaining positive and supportive of his team-mates, impressed boss Gareth Southgate and the coaching staff. Maddison’s recent performances in training have also been impressive, and he looks set to start against Ukraine, winning his first cap since 2019.

Southgate has confirmed that Jordan Henderson and Jude Bellingham are fit for the Group C fixture, but Reece James has withdrawn from the squad due to a minor hamstring injury. The England boss has only 18 outfield players to choose from, with Marcus Rashford, Mason Mount, and Nick Pope withdrawing due to injuries and Luke Shaw suspended.

Despite Rashford’s absence, Southgate has defended the Manchester United forward’s decision to jet off to the United States for a break. He praised Rashford’s form, which has seen him score 19 goals in 25 appearances since his impressive World Cup showing. Southgate hopes that Rashford’s form will continue, saying that he always makes a judgment on how players are performing, and Rashford has played over 50 caps for England.

The Euro 2024 tournament will be hosted by Germany and will take place from June 14 to July 14, 2024. England needs to win to advance directly to the final tournament of 24 teams.

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