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‘I could see myself at Tottenham, they haven’t had a creative player like me for years’

When James Maddison completed a £40m move to Tottenham from Leicester at the end of June he would have hoped to soon strike up a productive partnership with his international colleague Harry Kane in north London.

The pair linked up to great effect during last weekend’s 5-1 friendly win over Shakhtar Donetsk, Maddison flighting an inch-perfect cross into the box for Kane to head in the second of four goals in what proved to be his final Spurs appearance.

Now Maddison, along with new club captain Son Heung-min and the rest of the club’s attacking players, will be tasked with stepping up to fill the creative and goalscoring void left by the England captain, following his £86m move to Bayern Munich.

Maddison certainly has the pedigree to do just that. In five seasons at Leicester, he scored 43 goals and provided 32 assists in 143 Premier League games, including totals of 10 and nine respectively last season in a team that suffered relegation.

That record explains why Tottenham supporters are so excited by his arrival. The club has sorely lacked a player of his craft in recent seasons and Maddison admits he hopes to provide the creative spark that Spurs, Kane aside, have often lacked.

“There’s a little window for me at Tottenham Hotspur, a creative player that they’ve always had, maybe not had in recent years,” said Maddison at the TNT Sports start of season event.

“I could definitely see myself, when making the decision, playing for Tottenham in that kit in that stadium and being the creative player I know I can be.”

Although Kane’s departure has undoubtedly stung a fanbase that adored him, there is hope that the team he leaves behind will at least play more entertaining, attacking football under Ange Postecoglou compared to previous managers.

Maddison has clearly impressed his new manager, with Postecoglou praising his abilities in his press conference on Friday, before appointing him vice-captain alongside Cristian Romero, with the long-serving Son taking the armband.

“He’s been brilliant since he’s come in, he’s been outstanding,” Posetcoglou said. “Not just in the games but in training and the way he’s embraced the club and developed in the football we want to play.”

The feeling is evidently mutual, with Maddison admitting that Postecoglou’s philosophy helped persuade him to make the move to north London.

“I’ve said on record a couple times, when I spoke to the manager that really flicked a switch in my head to want to be there definitely,” he said.

“I think that’s why he’s at Tottenham as well, because of how he likes to play. It kind of suits Tottenham and maybe what they lacked a little bit with managers recently. The club has obviously had some big-name managers and the type of football I imagine Spurs fans want to see has been a little bit lacking.

“But the quality is there to be an attacking team. The players are there to do it and the manager made no hesitation on the way he wants to play and the way he explained it to me, and I fully believed it.”

Although Maddison is well capable of playing in a variety of positions, including on both wings, he has made his name predominantly as a playmaking No 10.

Spurs have lacked that profile of player since Christian Eriksen left for Inter Milan in January 2020 and Maddison admits the Dane was a reference point for him when he was coming through as a teenager at Coventry City.

“Christian was a brilliant player [at Spurs],” he said. “I used to watch Christian when I was a little bit younger, making my way in the game and he was at the top of his game in the Premier League.

“He was definitely someone I looked at, especially when I was in that teenage phase of watching players in my position at the top of their game.”

Maddison has frequently been linked with Tottenham in the past, dating back to his days at Coventry and Norwich City, before finally signing from Leicester this summer.

And he revealed that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy informed him that he had been keeping track of his career after finally getting his signature.

“There was interest, yeah. There was interest that never really fully materialised for whatever reason. When I spoke to the chairman, he shared with me that he was a fan of mine and had followed my career for a while. That was obviously nice to hear.”

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