‘He will be highlighted’: Paul Merson says teams are going to start targeting £45m Tottenham player now
James Maddison has arguably been Tottenham’s best player so far this season.
The £45m midfielder has been utterly brilliant since joining the north London club this season, and the rest of the Premier League just can’t figure out how to deal with the England international.
However, writing in his column for Sky Sports, Paul Merson has suggested that the way Maddison is treated may change soon.
Indeed, the pundit says that, ultimately, opposition teams managed to stop Maddison when he was at Leicester, and now, he will be highlighted as the player you have to stop when you play against Tottenham, claiming that he will be tightly marked going forwards.
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Maddison will be targeted
Merson gave his verdict on the midfielder.
“I like watching James Maddison,” Merson wrote.
“I do still think he needs to turn up and regularly do it in the big games. For me, that’s probably the question mark he’s had hanging over him.
“I remember saying numerous times on Soccer Saturday last season that Leicester would survive when James Maddison got fit. He did get fit and they weren’t alright.
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“Can he do it consistently in the huge games? This a huge game on Monday and he certainly has the ability to turn up. I think that can also come with experience, getting more exposure in these big matches, especially now he’s at a bigger club.
“He is a special footballer. He makes things happen and what I also like about him is the fact he is not shy. He will go and get the ball and he will never hide from it.
“As this season goes on, though, he will have to find solutions. Teams did manage to stop him playing at Leicester and he will be highlighted as the player that makes Spurs tick. There will be plans to stop him and when he is tightly marked, that is when he will have to come up with a response.”
Easier said than done
It’s all well and good predicting that other teams will try to target Maddison going forwards, but whether or not they can stop him is another matter entirely.
Indeed, we’ve seen the best players in the world targeted time and time again, but how often has that actually worked?
This is how Maddison proves he’s up there in that elite category, having the ability to run games even when he’s being targeted by opposition defences.
Other teams can try all they want, but whether or not they can stop Maddison is a different story.