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Why James Maddison Should Have Been in the 'EPL Player of the Season' Debate

James Maddison has had the best season of his entire career this year, yet no one is talking about it. Why?

From missing out on an EPL Player of the Season nomination to being left out of the latest England national team squad, Maddison must be feeling like he deserved more recognition.

James Maddison in 2021/22 Season -Антон Зайцев via Wikimedia

If you compare the goals and assists statistics of the other Premier League Player of the Season nominees who play in attacking positions, only Mohamed Salah and Heung-min Son have clearly outperformed Maddison in contributions.

For comparison, here are the EPL statistics for Kevin De Bruyne, Jarrod Bowen, and Bukayo Saka:

Kevin De Bruyne - 15 G / 8 A

Jarrod Bowen - 12 G / 12 A

Bukayo Saka - 11 G / 7 A

Now here are the EPL statistics for James Maddison for this season:

James Maddison - 12 G / 8 A

Maddison has the same amount of EPL assists as the "assist king" and EPL Player of the Season recipient Kevin De Bruyne, the same amount of goals as forward Jarrod Bowen, and more goals and assists than young talent Bukayo Saka.

For 'big chances created' in the 21/22 EPL season, James Maddison has 11, De Bruyne has 16, Saka has 8, and Bowen has 9.

It could be unfair to include De Bruyne in this conversation of who had a better season because the Belgian inches out Maddison in many statistics. Although, in a team like Manchester City that has 70% of possession week-in and week-out, it is not impressive to only have created five more chances.

Kevin De Bruyne on the ball versus RB Leipzig in the Champions League - Steffen Prößdorf via Wikimedia

Maddison over-performed in an under-performing Leicester City team this season. Leicester was a calamity at the back as they finished 17th in the league in clean sheets (7) and 7th in goals conceded with 59 (1.55 per match).

For perspective, they conceded more than relegated Burnley and only three less than chaotic Newcastle United.

Maddison created 21% of all attacking chances for Leicester in 2021/22. That is more of a contribution than any of the other three before-mentioned nominees.

To be a part of the EPL Player of the Season nominations, you should be one of the most irreplaceable players in your squad for that season. When looking at this Leicester City team, James Maddison is the only player you could say is irreplaceable based on their squad. Without Jamie Vardy for most of the season, Maddison had to carry the weight of goal contributions more than ever before.

Leicester does not have another chance creator in their squad with the ability to do what Maddison does. The quality of goals he scored this season was top class. A handful of long-range curlers were coupled with runs from deep through the defense to score one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

The biggest reason that Maddison was excluded from the EPL POTS nominations may be because of Leicester's lack of success this season compared to the seasons following the 2015/16 title.

After finishing 5th consecutively in the past two seasons, you would have to look back to the 2018/19 season to see where they last finished below their 8th place this year.

Even then, the award is for the best 'player' of the season and it should not be relative to what team the player plays for. The award should be given to the standout player in the league that season based on contributions to their team through goals, assists, clean-sheets, tackles, etc.

I am not saying that James Maddison should have won the award, but I am saying that the other nominees who play in forward positions did not achieve a drastically better season than the Englishman did. It is still an honor to be nominated for the award, and I think that is what Maddison deserved for his efforts this season.

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