Former Leicester City captain Matt Elliott believes that James Maddison will be a part of the Foxes’ F.A Cup final team against Chelsea.
The England international has been recovering from a hip injury for the past few months, leading to Brendan Rodgers having to manage him through a number of games, only completing 90 minutes once since the start of April.
He recently came on as a substitute in their game with Manchester United, and speaking on the latest edition of 5000/1 (25:33), Elliott felt that his absence from the starting eleven might act as a precursor to him starting at Wembley:
“It’s a tough one, isn’t it? Because I think it’s quite clear he’s not at full match fitness. Something’s niggling away or bothering him isn’t it? That may be the case for a little while, because Brendan talked about his injury situation being managed over a period of time, didn’t he?
“I got the feeling, even before the start of the game [against Manchester United], I don’t know if you agree, but I was thinking Maddison’s highly likely to play in the Cup Final. I thought that might have been a game too much, Man Utd and then Chelsea on the Saturday, if he’s carrying that little niggle nursing himself through.
“So I think it was sort of giving him a little bit of a rest really to try and get him fresh and charged up for Saturday because I think, big game like that, Leicester need their big game player, Maddison is one of those without a doubt.”
Is James Maddison Leicester's most important player?
TIF Thoughts on Matt Elliott’s comments about James Maddison
Matt Elliott’s assessment does hint itself to Maddison essentially being nursed through with this game in mind.
Whilst the Foxes are still not assured of a top-four finish, it is still very much in their own hands, with FiveThirtyEight giving them a 69% chance of finishing in the Champions League places, so the final has to take priority at this time. And given how important Maddison is to them, leading the team in assists this season, he will certainly be vital to them if they are to beat Chelsea this weekend.
We’ll just have to find out tomorrow if Elliott’s prediction turns out to be right.