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FEATURE: "I’ve grown up supporting the club, I remember going to block 33 at the Ricoh as a fan." - Coventry City's James Maddison

30 December 2015

We featured James Maddison for our Port Vale programme and you can read the feature in full, as well as fans questions, below...

If there's one thing football fans want to see, it's one of their own from the Academy doing well.

Coventry City have been spoilt over the years with Academy graduates and one of the latest is set to have a massive impact on a second half of the season promotion push.

James Maddison has been with the club since the age of seven and has fully progressed through every age range of the club's esteemed Academy.

It's even more special when you progress through your local side - the one you support and the one you used to watch.

Maddison started: "All the way through from the Academy up to this stage and all that work was to get the contract I got in October last year. It is the best feeling in the world to be given a pro deal and I really remember the day well.

“I’ve grown up supporting the club, I remember going to block 33 at the Ricoh as a fan watching the players and it's come full circle for me now.

"Of course I want to get to the top, but it would be unbelievable to do it with Coventry City, my club."

The Academy, which has produced several first-team players down the years, is a massive part of the club according to Maddison.

Seeing the likes of Callum Wilson playing in the Premier League, Cyrus Christie becoming a full Ireland international and the likes of Jordan Clarke, Jordan Willis, Conor Thomas, Gael Bigirimana and Ben Turner go on to have good careers is something that Maddison holds in high regard as he takes the first steps into his first full season as a professional.

"We've produced a lot of players over the years and we've surely got to be up there with the most Academy players produced throughout the country," he enthused.

"For example last year, I was a scholar but in the JPT against Wycombe we finished the game with a ridiculous amount of players from our Academy, eleven of the 16 were from the Academy and we finished with nine Academy lads out of the eleven. 

"It's great being part of a wonderful Academy and likes of Bigi, Jordan Willis and Conor Thomas are often forgotten about because they're now pretty experienced. It's definitely inspiration for a young player, seeing so many people be successful in the game. Callum Wilson was in great form in the Premier League too so we can clearly see that there's a pathway, it's emphasised to us at a young age.

"I've always had same age group so I stayed with the likes of Devon and Dion Kelly-Evans, Ben Stevenson and Cian Harries, as well as having influential coaches like Rich Stevens - who was there all the way through for me - and Jason Farndon who's a top man who taught me a lot with the Under-18s.

"Over the years I've seen hundreds of trialists get turned away, signed, released, and it's a massive rollercoaster from your first day on trial to getting a scholarship. I've seen so many talented players not get a chance for whatever reason but do well at other clubs in the game. Obviously I'm very fortunate to get here but I’m ready now to take the next step and get into the side after recovering from my injury.”

That injury has halted what was a great start to the season for the 19-year old, who played in each of the first five games this campaign.

His form was one of highlights of those opening games and with the midfielder about to make his return, Maddison wants to get back in the thick of it – in a team that he genuinely believes can get promoted this campaign.

He does of course, have to win his place back in the side but he’s excited for the supporters who have got behind him and the side this season.

“I can’t really remember the tackle clearly, but I do remember taking a sloppy touch and I extended my leg too much leaving my ankle at risk. It was the big game at that time against Walsall and I wanted to put my foot in, unfortunately it gave me a long lay off.

“I was devastated, I thought I started the season pretty well. But I’ve been putting in so much graft to get myself back, I’ve done plenty of ankle rehab and rehab for the whole leg as you lose a lot of muscle because you can’t put weight on it. I’ve been on the bike keeping fit and it’s been an absolutely massive slog.

“But the fans have been great with me, they’ve given me great support and I get on well them on social media. They’ve been a massive part of our success so far this season and I’d like to thank them for their support, they also sell out away from home and have backed us at home so it’s been unbelievable.

“They deserve a good season and I honestly believe we can get promoted. It’s early but the feeling around the club is great at the moment. We’ve got an experienced manager in Tony Mowbray who is by far a class above this league, with that combined with the talent in the dressing room we’ve got the experience to go on and give everyone at the club something to celebrate.

“I have to get back in the team first of course, there’s so much talent in the dressing room and I’m working hard to get into the thick of things again.”


How much are you panicking about getting back in the side since Jim has been playing amazing? Jimstagram777 (Jim O’Brien on Instagram)

Jim's done well to be fair, but I’m not worried, he’s got high pass completion but for the opposition.

What’s the best TV series in the world?  Jack White (Facebook)

It has to be 24, I really enjoyed Prison Break but you can’t beat Jack Bauer – absolute ledge!

What’s your favourite console game? __patrick_daly__ (Instagram)

Call of Duty got unbelievable at FIFA really enjoying that - love it

Come on Madders, what’s with the alice band, is that a good look? Adamwillson1 (Instagram)

There was nothing that inspired it, my hair got a bit long and I liked the way it was going. It’s so long that it gets in my face when I’m playing so the solution was an alice band! There was nothing like fashion or anything that influenced me, but I do think it does look really really good as well. 

Do you get a lot of stick for your hair? @colinpusb  (Twitter)

I did at first, but I’m the type of person to stick with it. I’ve got one of the best haircuts, when we go out as players occasionally I’m always looking the best so they can't argue. 

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