Cantona-esque Maddison hailed by Neville as ‘fantastic’ player amid Man Utd transfer talk

The former Red Devils star can see why those at Old Trafford are said to be keen on luring an England international playmaker away from Leicester

James Maddison may be “cocky”, admits Gary Neville, but the same was true of Eric Cantona and Joe Cole in the past and it is easy to see why Manchester United are being heavily linked with an approach.

The Red Devils are said to have had the Leicester playmaker on their recruitment radar for some time.

He is not the only creative option being considered by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish another top transfer target for those at Old Trafford.

It may be that he rises to the top of the pile, with Maddison having suggested that he will be sticking around the King Power Stadium for the foreseeable future.

Neville, though, can understand why United are mulling over another raid on the Foxes, having splashed out a record-breaking £80 million ($100m) on Harry Maguire in the summer of 2019.

The former Red Devils defender believes Maddison would add important qualities to Solskjaer’s squad, with the 13-time Premier League champions – and English football as a whole – having benefited from similar characters in the past.

Neville told Sky Sports: “We’re quick to mention players like Maddison being cocky.

“We used to say it about players like Joe Cole and Matt Le Tissier. Eric Cantona obviously was seen as an arrogant and cocky player. Jack Grealish has had it as well and there’s a stigma attached to some players.

“But actually that’s why they are the players they are. They’ve got flair, ability, they want to look good and look the part.

“They’re brilliant to watch and he [Maddison] is a fantastic player and I’m sure Leicester will be working very hard to make sure they hang on to him.”

Liverpool have also been linked with Maddison, although the Reds now appear to be exploring other options when it comes to adding greater depth to their attacking pool.

Jamie Carragher is, however, another who can appreciate why leading sides in the Premier League are looking to a man with 16 goals and 10 assists across the last two seasons for inspiration.

The Liverpool legend added: “I’m a big fan.

“He’s got something about him and he believes in himself. He’s got that football arrogance that you want. He’s never going to shirk the issue.”