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Junior coach: Injuries holding back Leicester midfielder James Maddison

Injuries have held back the career of Leicester City midfielder James Maddison, according to a former junior mentor.

Richard Stevens knows Maddison better than most, having coached him as a boy in the Coventry academy. He now manages the youth setup at West Bromwich Albion, but keeps in touch with his former player and watches his progress.

"He's never not been the best trainer," Stevens tells BBC Sport. "He's always been driven, but his ability has been something he's worked on since his younger years; five, six or seven years of age.

"Some of the smaller hurdles he has had in his career have shaped the person he is today. He's playing in a top six Premier League team and has been for two years. The injuries he's picked up have come at a bad time; they've set him back from being in contention for that England group in the summer."

Stevens added: "He was an unbelievable talent, but you don't know what football does. There weren't lots of young players playing at first-team level then. It was hard to gauge how far he was going to go, but once he hit the levels he did as a 17-year-old, you knew he was going to set his own boundaries.

"Whatever has come at him, he takes it in his stride and deals with it. He has an unbelievable resilience. He has a skill and a mentality where he can always hit that next level."


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