James Maddison has relished the challenge of playing Premier League football this season. The Leicester City midfielder paid tribute to former boss Claude Puel for giving him his debut in top tier of English football, while suggesting there has been an ‘uplift in intensity’ since Brendan Rodgers took over.
Leicester paid £22m to sign the midfielder from Norwich last summer and the 22-year-old has rewarded the Foxes with seven league goals so far in his first season.
Maddison has also created 93 goalscoring chances – more than any other player in the top five European leagues. After a previous successful loan spell at Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership, he admits it is nice to be proving himself among the world’s best now.
“The step up has been brilliant,” he said. “You never know what to expect because I’d never played in the Premier League before.
“I’d always watched it but only played in the League One, the Championship and in Scotland. The Premier League is the best league and I’ve enjoyed every second of it.”
Leicester’s four-game winning streak under Rodgers was halted by Newcastle on Friday at King Power Stadium as they lost 1-0 but Maddison says things have improved under the former Liverpool and Celtic boss.
“There’s been a big uplift,” the England U21 international added. “I’ve got a lot of respect for Claude Puel, he brought me to the club and gave me my first opportunity in the Premier League.
“But there’s been an uplift in intensity [since Rodgers took over], standards have come up higher and the quality in training has developed. There’s a really good-feel factor around the place.”
Leicester are 2.30 to win away at West Ham on Saturday, with the Hammers 3.10 and the draw 3.50.