James Maddison responds to ‘naughty’ Newcastle United question amid transfer ‘speculation’

Newcastle United transfer target James Maddison has been having ‘banter’ with England team-mates Kieran Trippier, Nick Pope and Callum Wilson in Qatar.

The Leicester City midfielder sat out England’s first two World Cup group stage matches due to injury. And while out in Qatar, Maddison has been talking with the Newcastle players about the upcoming Premier League match at Leicester on Boxing Day.

It will mark a return to Premier League action for the two clubs and likely be the first time Maddison, Trippier, Pope or Wilson feature after returning from England duty.

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Everton and England defender Conor Coady asked Maddison who he thought would win between Newcastle and Leicester on Boxing Day during England’s Lions’ Den live broadcast on Tuesday.

England's midfielder #25 James Maddison, England's forward #24 Callum Wilson, England's forward #11 Marcus Rashford and England's goalkeeper #13 Nick Pope attend the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and USA at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 25, 2022. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

The 26-year-old Foxes midfielder said: “That’s naughty, man! Me, Cal, Tripps and Popey have been having a bit of banter.

"It’s three on one to be fair of the Newcastle boys but we've been having a bit of banter about the Boxing Day game coming up and stuff and obviously there was a bit of [transfer] speculation last summer. It’s been good fun, banter as you’d expect with the lads.

“I think The Foxes are coming out on top on Boxing Day, I’ve been saying that all week. It’s obviously three on one but Newcastle are in good form to be fair to them."

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Maddison was outlined as a top transfer target for Newcastle in the summer as Leicester rejected two bids from The Magpies. The Foxes were holding out for £60million in the summer but that figure could well rise come January given the attacking-midfielder’s impressive start to the season.

In 13 league matches, Maddison has contributed seven goals and four assists for Leicester. He is also friends with United striker Wilson with the pair at their hometown club Coventry City together until Wilson joined AFC Bournemouth in 2014.

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Callum Wilson is sure he’s going to score but I think he’ll have to have a quiet day on Boxing Day,” Maddison added. “I hope Callum is watching, bring on Boxing Day.

“I’ve been telling [Nick Pope] I’m going to score against him all week, just like Burnley last year!”