Former Norwich City midfielder James Maddison has delivered a message to England boss Gareth Southgate ahead the World Cup opener against Iran on Monday: ‘I’m ready’. 

Southgate bowed to public pressure to include the Leicester City man in his 26-man squad for Qatar after previously resisting calls for his inclusion despite his excellent form for the Foxes this season. 

However, Maddison’s involvement was confirmed when the squad was announced and the 25-year-old has now set his sights on getting in Southgate’s starting XI.  

“I’ve got to be ready when called upon,” said Maddison, who made 53 appearances for the Canaries, scoring 18 goals before his big-money move to the Midlands. “I feel like I’m in good form and we’ve got such a brilliant squad that you might only get one chance to go and show everyone what you can do and be the man to help the team. I’ll be ready when that opportunity comes.” 

If Maddison starts for the Three Lions during the World Cup then Norwich would be due a significant sum as part of a clause, which was negotiated as part of the £24m deal that took Maddison to Leicester in the summer of 2018. 

However, the playmaker must do some rehab work to overcome a slight knee injury that forced him to be substituted during Leicester’s 2-0 win at West Ham at the weekend. 

“We’ve had the scan since and there aren’t any major problems,” he said. “I’ll have to do a bit of work here to get up to speed but there should be no concerns. 

“We’ve got to tick a few boxes with the physio team and a bit of extra work to do because I want to be fully 100pc ready if called upon. I’m hopeful that I’ll be fine.” 

Maddison insisted that he never gave up hope Southgate would include him as part of the England party in the Middle East and revealed the depth of emotion his family felt at hearing the news of his inclusion. 

“I don’t think at any point I thought it was a closed door and that the opportunity had gone. It was just about staying hungry and using the rejection as motivation to try and force my way back in.” 

He added: “My dad actually cried – he's not a crier either – I don’t think I’ve actually seen him cry for years! Happy tears of course because your family and your parents are on that journey with you.  

“The day of the announcement on the Thursday I actually went back to see them in Coventry and had dinner at home with my family. I wanted to see and give my mum a big hug – it's a day I’ll never forget.”