Sat. May 25th, 2024

Jamie Carragher has labelled James Maddison the most influential player in the Premier League this season after his goal helped Tottenham beat Fulham 2-0 and go top of the Premier League.

Maddison converted coolly from Heung-Min Son’s pass after the South Korean had put Spurs in front at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to notch his third Premier League goal of the season.

The former Leicester playmaker, who has also registered five assists, was named Player of the Match and Carragher feels he has been the competition’s most impressive performer this season.

“For me, he’s been probably the most influential player in the Premier League,” Carragher said on Monday Night Football. “I think he has been that influential.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Tottenham’s win against Fulham

“The credit has to go to the manager. It’s his philosophy, his way of playing, but he (Maddison) has been a major part of that.”

Maddison, 26, joined Tottenham for £40m in the summer and has started every one of their nine Premier League games, adapting instantly and helping them to the summit of the Premier League.

“He has come in and taken the No 10, Harry Kane’s shirt, possibly the greatest player to have played for Tottenham. I think at one stage early on he had the captain’s armband on.

“He is just that type of personality. Sometimes, taking a step up to a bigger club, that scrutiny is too much for players, they can’t actually handle it. It’s not their ability, it’s their mentality.

“He can. He has embraced going to a bigger club, doing interviews with us, being in the spotlight. He absolutely loves it.”

Maddison: I thrive off the pressure

Asked by Carragher afterwards if he is right to describe him as the Premier League’s most influential player this season, Maddison told Sky Sports: “That’s the aim. It’s big praise but I appreciate it.

“Coming to a club like Tottenham is a bigger club in stature than Leicester, and I absolutely loved my time there, but the scrutiny, the pressure, the responsibility goes up a notch when you come to one of these bigger clubs. I love that and thrive off that.

“Sixty-thousand fans here today and I just love these occasions on Monday Night Football. That’s when I’m at my best.

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James Maddison scores Tottenham’s second goal against Fulham

“I felt really good out there today and I’m happy we got the win because we’re doing really well as a team. We’ve got such a hard-working team and a great manager. I just want that to continue game on game.”

Maddison’s goal was his first at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

“I’m really happy,” he added. “All my goal contributions so far this season have been away from home, I keep seeing stats pop up about it.

“It’s nice to get off the mark here in a convincing performance, solid win, that puts us back to the top of the table.

“It felt a little bit disjointed, Fulham didn’t really press and our centre-backs were able to walk up the pitch with the ball almost. We expected them to press a little bit higher.

“I started dropping deeper and was more involved in the build-up. We got a little bit more success that way.”

O’Neil: Maddison always confident

Wolves manager Gary O’Neil, appearing alongside Carragher on Monday Night Football, was similarly impressed by Maddison’s impact and recalled playing alongside him as a youngster at Norwich.

“He was at Norwich as a young boy. He was out on loan at Coventry at the time but we made the play-offs at Norwich, so he came back to train with us, because his season had finished.

“His confidence was on show the minute he walked in and trained with the first-team group. There was no doubt in his mind that he was going to be the best player. He had the ability to back it up, no doubt.

“You do see some young lads who are a little bit over-confident or maybe a little bit arrogant. James wasn’t that. He just had an unbelievable belief in his own ability and a work ethic to match.”

Postecoglou: He has upped it defensively

Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou, who has now set a Premier League record for the best start by a manager after nine games, praised Maddison’s all-round contribution.

“It was great for Madders on the back of him working hard defensively which is part of the game we’ve really impressed on him this year,” he told Sky Sports.

“With the ball, we know what he can do, he’s really creative. First-half we were really good, I was really happy with the way we stayed patient and waited for our little opportunities to open them up and Madders was key to that.”

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Ange Postecoglou praised James Maddison but was unimpressed by his side’s second-half display

There was, however, criticism of his side’s second-half performance and a warning from the Spurs boss about the importance of maintaining discipline.

“Him, along with others in the second half, we lost our discipline a little bit and we can’t do that at this level,” he said. “It’s a good little lesson for us.

“It was a good result. Fulham are a tough team to break down. In the first-half he handled it pretty well, nice and calm. With the chance we had, probably should have had a second and a third.

“The second half wasn’t great for us. We didn’t play anywhere near the levels we can with the ball. Without the ball we were still excellent in terms of our pressing.

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Heung-Min Son is congratulated by Micky van de Ven after Tottenham’s first goal against Fulham

“With the ball we were really, really wasteful. We’ve been really consistent this year. That’s probably the worst 45 minutes with the ball we’ve had.

“We got a little bit wasteful, static, we weren’t moving as much as we were in the first-half. You’ve always got to respect the game.

“If you’re off it just a little bit, I’ve been around long enough to know it will drag you down pretty quickly. We didn’t stay true to the football we want to play and took some liberties with the game which I wasn’t happy with.”

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