James Maddison is gently rekindling the embers of Paul Gascoigne’s fireball, three-season spell at Tottenham, a club that should always be about daring to do rather than about Daniel Levy

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Tottenham: Postecoglou praises resilience following Kane’s departure

Expected goals, distance covered, successful tackles, single pivots, transition, inverted full-backs.

VAR, timetabled social media posts, goalkeepers who think they are Glenn Hoddle. Instagram hits, scripted interviews, agents running the show, noses deep into the filthy Saudi trough. Good old, new football.

And then there is James Maddison, a player who still looks as though he is in it purely for the crack. Just as Paul Gascoigne was. Coincidentally, Maddison is gently rekindling the embers of Gazza’s fireball, three-season spell at Tottenham Hotspur, a club that should always be about daring to do rather than about Daniel Levy.

And that is why Maddison already sees it as a sort of spiritual home. He explains: “Yeah, and that was one of the factors in why I wanted to go to Tottenham. You come to points in your life and career where you have to make a decision and when making decisions, you have to factor in things like that and everything as a whole.

“And that was one of the reasons I wanted to go to Tottenham, purely because I could just see myself playing for Tottenham. I’m not even 100% sure what I mean by that, so don’t ask me!

“But I could just see myself in that team, in that kit, in that stadium. It just fitted well for me. And they’ve always had that type of player. My dad’s favourite player when I was growing up was Gazza.

“And I want to entertain. That will never change for me. That’s non-negotiable. That’s how I play. I’m never going to change and that’s why my journey has gone like this and why I have ended up at Tottenham.”

James Maddison has enjoyed an impressive start to his career with Tottenham James Maddison has enjoyed an impressive start to his career with Tottenham (



While even Maddison might struggle to replicate Gascoigne’s truly mercurial skills, he can safely say he has his approach to the game. Maddison says: “I remember a clip where the cameras are going down the national anthem and it gets to him (Gascoigne) 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 don’t know if you saw the clip of me moving the ball out from the corner flags with the Bournemouth fans but it’s just little stuff like that which I enjoy doing, that keeps me hungry and stuff.

“I like the theatre element of almost being the villain. That keeps me at my best. That’s how I enjoyed watching it and that’s how I enjoy playing it.”

And Maddison is certainly enjoying life under Ange Postecoglu at Spurs. These are very early days but Tottenham fans might just have another iconic number ten to celebrate.

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The new top has been claimed to “build on more than a century of tradition” and is a fresh update to the iconic kit that gave Spurs the nickname, the Lilywhites. There’s a subtle but distinct linework pattern running through the new shirt that’s said to have been inspired by “the borough’s vibrant music scene and streetwear culture of the borough of Tottenham”

Maddison smiles: “I didn’t want Harry (Kane) to leave but when he did leave and the number ten shirt became free and the club asked me, then of course I wanted to wear it. It’s my favourite number. I’ve got it tattooed on me, I loved that number growing up as a kid.”

While Maddison would have loved to be playing alongside his England skipper, he explains how Spurs appear to have a new lease of life. Maddison says: “I knew there was a chance Harry could leave but it wasn’t all doom and gloom. I wasn’t going to Tottenham for Harry Kane.

“There was such a good feel with the new manager coming in and new players. Everyone was on a fresh slate and there was a really good energy and feel about the club.

“And the way the manager wants to play suits me perfectly because it’s how I see football - that’s how I would want the game to be played if I was manager, so I’m fulfilling that as a player.”

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