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James Maddison was turned into a YouTube star by his father and now the Tottenham man is hoping his next highlight reel can compare to those of the likes of Paul Gascoigne and Wayne Rooney as he targets success with England.
As Maddison rose up through the Coventry academy his story was documented by his dad Gary – who launched his own YouTube channel in 2006 to showcase his son’s burgeoning ability.
The five videos available on the channel – @gazmaddy – have amassed over 175,000 views in total.
Gary had earlier put together compilations of his favourite players, with Maddison glued to the screen as a boy watching edited clips of Gascoigne.
Maddison, 26, admits he is not old enough to remember Gascoigne in his pomp, but his father made up for that.
“My dad used to put football videos together. He is a graphic designer and is good with computers and stuff,” he said.
“He used to put montages together and stuff and Gazza features on a lot of them, so I remember a lot of his clips.”
Maddison has excelled since joining Spurs from Leicester in the summer and has taken on the role of entertainer in the Tottenham team – a tag Gascoigne always enjoyed during his stint at White Hart Lane.
“Growing up, I was a footie fan. Before you become a professional, you are a fan of the game and I loved players who had personality,” he said.
I like the theatre element of almost being the villain a little bit. That keeps me at my best
“I loved watching players who had a little bit of cheekiness about them, a little bit more than your bog-standard. I’m not sure what I mean by bog-standard but I like players who show their personality when they play.
“Gazza was a perfect example. For example, something silly… I remember a clip where the cameras are going down the national anthem and it gets to him and he sticks his tongue out and starts messing around with the camera and going all bog-eyed – and I just love that. That’s why I like interacting with fans and showing my personality.
“I like the theatre element of almost being the villain a little bit. That keeps me at my best. That’s how I enjoyed watching it and that’s how enjoy playing it.”
Maddison, who will be aiming to add to his three senior England caps in the upcoming games against Ukraine and Scotland, cited former captain Rooney among a number of more contemporary examples of the players he looks up to.
“I love Wayne Rooney and in more recent times when I started to know a little more about football and we were in the academy and there was more of a realistic chance of becoming a footballer,” he added.
“I loved Philippe Coutinho when he was at Liverpool and David Silva, who had 10 brilliant years at (Manchester) City. Christian Eriksen when he first came to Spurs. I would probably say Rooney was the big one in my childhood. I used to love Wazza.
“Again, he was someone who played with personality. He was a bit more feisty than me – a bit harder into a tackle – but his personality and the way he came through in the way he played. And that’s what I enjoy.”
Injury, form and fierce competition have limited Maddison to a bit-part playing role on the international stage to date.
After playing down suggestions of any previous rift with manager Gareth Southgate, he admits travelling to the World Cup and not being able to play because of a niggling knee complaint has given him even more reason to feature at Euro 2024.
“It definitely gave me motivation for Germany,” he said of his non-playing stint in Qatar.
“I was so proud to be there representing my country. Gareth gave me a massive compliment as we were leaving. He said he knew it has been tough with the injury and not featuring, but he was really impressed with the way I had carried myself round the group.
“Him putting his arm around me and saying that as we were leaving stuck with me. I made a conscious effort not to be down, even though I was at the World Cup and I wanted to play for England. It has given me a hunger. I just want more and more.
“I’ve been ready for a long time, in my head. But there is so much talent here, such a great squad of players in terms of pure ability and talent. We see it in training every day – the standard is so high and it’s brilliant to be a part of.”
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