The FAI have reportedly begun attempts to persuade Leicester City midfielder James Maddison to switch his international allegiances from England to Ireland.
According to a report from David Sneyd in the Independent, the FAI received some recent encouragement about Maddison’s potential desire to switch and have been made aware that a move could be possible.
Maddison qualifies to play for the Boys in Green through a grandparent and had previously been on the radar of Irish underage scouts during his time at Norwich and Coventry before his call up to the English U21s in 2017.
The report also outlines that should Maddison be overlooked for England’s next set of European qualifiers than a switch to play for Ireland could be possible, although the process would be quite complicated.
It is understood that Mick McCarthy is on board with trying to recruit Maddison who has been in excellent form in the early stages of this campaign looking particularly impressive against Chelsea last weekend.
The 22-year-old is a tremendous talent and his ability to create chances for his teammates – exactly 100 last season – makes him an exciting commodity.
It does however look extremely unlikely that he will be passed up by England and Southgate ahead of this upcoming international break given his fine start to the season and the Three Lions’ boss’ propensity for giving youth a chance.
Maddison had been included in the England squad for their Nations League games with Spain and Croatia last October, but failed to make an appearance.
The reported “encouragement” from Maddison’s end to consider a switch to Ireland could also be a ploy to put pressure on England and Southgate to include him in the upcoming squad and tie him down for the future.
Even if by an off-chance Maddison fails to make the upcoming England squad it would likely be a rash decision for him to switch given the fact that he is only 22 years of age and is still developing in the game.
Maddison would be a strong addition to Ireland there is no doubt, but it seems like a highly unlikely move for one of England’s brightest talents.