Nevertheless, Richard Stevens, then Coventry’s academy manager, revealed that Maddison had recently dropped by to speak to the U15 boys there. “It was not planned but they were around so he chatted to them for half an hour. All he wants to talk about is football.”
Stevens would take no credit for identifying Maddison’s talent early. “Anyone would have spotted him. The opposition always did.” Indeed, he became used to one particular phrase when taking his teams to away grounds. “Is he playing?” His reputation preceded him.