"You’d have to ask the staff to go and get him in from the training pitch because he’d have a game the next day!"
That's what Tony Mowbray says when he recollects his time working with England new boy James Maddison, who could make his international bow with the Three Lions this evening.
The young playmaker, who is currently with Leicester City, worked with Mowbray during their time together at Coventry City.
Maddison, who played alongside current Rover Adam Armstrong at the Sky Bues, has excelled in his first season in the Premier League, and Tony is thrilled to see one of his former players get the chance, with the 21-year-old in line to appear against Croatia in the UEFA Nations League clash tonight.
“Of the players I have influenced at times, I always say to every team that there will come a point when I want to sit in the sunshine in Spain when I retire and watch Match of the Day to see my players and teams on there," Tony said.
“Maddison was never satisfied with his performances when I worked with him at Coventry. He was always the last one off the training ground, always practicing free kicks, getting people to whack balls into him so he could work on his first touch.
“Sometimes with footballers, they either listen or they don’t. With Maddison whether it be raining or snowing and getting dark, you’d have to ask the staff to go and get him in from the training pitch because he’d have a game the next day!
“That’s what James was, so it comes as no surprise to me to see his career blossom. He was always going to progress because he was so gifted. His talent was there for all to see.
“He’d use his body well, take it away from people, use both feet. His ability to put the right weight on a pass was quite devastating.
“I’m pleased for James because he loves the game. He’s full embroiled in football and all he wants to do is be the best. I’m delighted that the England call has come his way.
“We had him on one wing and Armstrong up front with Ryan Kent or Jacob Murphy on the other wing," Mowbray adds.
"It was a great season for Coventry back then with Maddison, Armstrong and then Joe Cole coming in and helping.
“Maddo looked up to him and they got on really well. That was a good time and although people ask me and tell me it was a tough time at Coventry, that season was a real sparkling one with the players I have mentioned."