Where is James Maddison's best position for Leicester?
James Maddison has enjoyed an impressive start to the 2019/20 campaign | Photo: Getty/ Plumb Images

Leicester City's James Maddison has enjoyed a highly impressive start to the season, notching two goals and a further two assists in the seven games he has played, yet does not have a clear position in the team despite being one of the first names on the teamsheet.

The Foxes number 10 has found himself starting on the left wing usually, but has played in a variety of other roles such as a support striker for Jamie Vardy or a part of the midfield three alongside Youri Tielemans and Wilfred Ndidi.

With Leicester pushing for a top-four place, where is Maddison best suited to have the most impact for his team?

Left wing

Maddison is often deployed in a wide position to cater for an additional midfielder to add more stability, usually in the form of either Dennis Praet or Hamza Choudhury. When this happens, the young midfielder is pushed up to the left wing where he is able to cut back and drift inside onto his right foot to either play Vardy through or shoot on goal himself.

Despite the trickery that the playmaker possesses, he would not be as likely to run at defenders and stretch the play as Harvey Barnes, who is in the battle for that position, and instead darts into midfield with the ball leaving a great deal of space that Leicester could attack through, putting a real emphasis on Ben Chilwell getting forward. Due to this, if the ball is lost in the final third and the opposition breaks, Chilwell often finds himself out of position as he fills in for Maddison on the wing to provide width.

Maddison can also find himself a lot more isolated on the wing which is not what the East Midands side would want as the former Norwich City player has created the most chances in the Premier League since the start of last season.

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Part of a midfield three

Arguably his most comfortable position, the Leicester number 10 looks at his most dangerous when playing in the centre of the park. Alongside Tielemans and Ndidi, Maddison's quick turn of direction and ability to pick out a pass is perfect for when the counter attack is on and due to his starting position, the 22-year-old will be able to recieve the ball on the edge of the box with greater ease to create a shooting opportunity. His ball control and quick feet are also shown to the full capacity in this positon as he rides challenges and evades the opposition to create space.

Brendan Rodgers stated after the 1-0 defeat to Manchester United: "We played our way into the game and when we changed it, with the winger and putting James inside, we got a better link between the midfield and the front-line." 

The added link to the midfield and the front line that Maddison creates results in a greater number of shots on goal and chances created but some of the midfield steel is lost when Praet or Choudhury aren't included in the team. This means that Tielemans has to work harder defensively rather than playing through the lines like his midfield partner while Ndidi provides the screening of the backline. 

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Support Striker

Vardy has operated superbly as a lone front man for the last couple of seasons but there have been times when Rodgers has changed the formation to allow for a support striker. Harvey Barnes, Demarai GrayKelechi IheanachoAyoze Perez all have the capabilities to play in this role, but it is Maddison who is arguably the best suited.

He has already proven that he is on the same wavelength as Vardy and to move him closer would make sure that the partnership would not be stretched during the match. 

One drawback to this would be the fact that Maddison would find himself often making fake runs in order to give Vardy space instead of creating chances with the ball at his feet which is his real strength, meaning that he could be bypassed in moves rather than orchestrating them himself.