James Maddison: ‘Ange Postecoglou told me to expect a different Tottenham’

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder James Maddison reveals that Ange Postecoglou has told him to expect a “completely different” Spurs team for the 2023-24 season.

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder James Maddison has revealed that Ange Postecoglou told him to expect a “completely different” Lilywhites team under his tutelage.

The 26-year-old was officially unveiled as Spurs’ third signing of the summer window on Wednesday evening, joining for an initial £40m on a five-year contract.

Maddison follows Italian goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario to North London, while Dejan Kulusevski has also joined permanently following his successful loan from Juventus.

Tottenham lacked a player of Maddison’s creative ilk during the reign of Antonio Conte, whose favoured 3-4-3 and 3-5-2 systems left little room for attacking midfielders.

However, with the newly-appointed Postecoglou expected to deploy a 4-3-3, the former Celtic and Australia head coach promised Maddison that he would witness a revitalised, attack-minded Tottenham team for the 2023-24 season.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou reacts on April 2, 2023© Reuters

“I spoke to the manager, spoke to Daniel [Levy] and they both spoke very highly of everything about the club and of me,” Maddison said in his first interview with tottenhamhotspur.com.

“Speaking to the manager was very important, how he’s going to be, with that little bit of the unknown, so to have a decent chat with him and to get his thoughts on things, how he sees Spurs going this season.

“He said one thing to me on the call, I hope he won’t mind me saying this, but he said, ‘whether you come or not, you’re going to see a completely different Spurs team under me’, and that kind of stuck with me that he said that. I thought ‘wow there’s that same self belief that I’ve got in myself’.

“Things like that are so important, building a good relationship with him, with Daniel, speaking to other players, obviously, I know a lot of them anyway, and playing against them for so many years, I feel like I have such a good understanding with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and now I’m part of it, and I have this lovely white shirt on, I’m ready to go.”

Maddison made a name for himself at Leicester with 55 goals and 41 assists from 203 appearances, notching 10 goals and nine assists during the Foxes’ doomed 2022-23 season.

England's James Maddison during a press conference on November 16, 2022© Reuters

The England international’s efforts could not save Leicester from the drop, but his individual contributions were lauded nonetheless, and he was also the subject of interest from Newcastle United before the Magpies prioritised other targets.

During Maddison’s time with Coventry City and Norwich City, Christian Eriksen was pulling the strings as Tottenham’s creator-in-chief, and the 26-year-old opened up on his admiration for the Dane.

“I always watch football and talk football. I’m a football man. Christian [Eriksen] was one of my favourite players growing up, when I was in the lower leagues especially when he was in hot form at Tottenham,” Maddison added.

“That iconic number 23, Eriksen. He was just someone who would produce quality moments at this football club and to swap shirts with a player like that ilk was something very special to me. Hopefully I can bring that enthusiasm and that football love to this club and hopefully that will translate into good stuff on the pitch.”

Maddison could make his non-competitive debut for Tottenham in their first pre-season friendly against West Ham United on July 18, which forms a part of the Lilywhites’ Asia-Pacific Tour.

Postecoglou’s men will also take on Maddison’s former team Leicester (July 23), Roma (July 26) and Shakhtar Donetsk (August 6) before they kick off the new Premier League season away to Brentford on August 13.

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