Coventry born Premier League stars Calum Wilson and James Maddison are running out of time in their quest to represent the city and Coventry City FC at World Cup 2022. They would be the first players from the city and the first CCFC academy graduates to represent England at a major tournament, but it’s now looking unlikely that they’ll achieve this honour. Both players would have started the qualifying campaign with hopes of making the squad having both been involved as recently as 2019, but they now appear to have little chance of doing so. England is among the favourites for this year’s tournament according to oddschecker, whose free bets page provides a list of offers that can be used to back the Three Lions. As such it’ll be a shame for Coventry fans to not have any local talent in the mix, although the Midlands as a whole is likely to be well represented in the squad.
Calum Wilson is one of the best players to come out of Coventry in the last two decades. He came through the City academy and made over 50 appearances before being sold to Bournemouth at the start of the 2014/15 season. He scored 20 goals to help the Cherries earn promotion to the Premier League and provided a consistent goal threat whenever he played during their five years in the division.
He has played 5 times for England, a fact which Coventry fans are very proud of, however injury problems over the last few seasons have taken him out of the picture while new names have emerged as options.
Leicester City attacking midfielder James Maddison is another talented local player who broke through at Coventry City after spending time in the Academy. After impressing the Sky Blues in League One he was signed by Norwich City of the Championship, where he continued to showcase his talent. He was bought by Leicester City in 2018 and has lit up the Premier League ever since with goals, assists and top-class performances.
Despite his Premier League form, Maddison has found it difficult to completely convince Gareth Southgate of his suitability for England. Initially left out due to the managers preference of playing without a number 10, Maddison has adapted his position at Leicester to play as a more conventional midfielder. However, Southgate is spoilt for choice in this area with the likes of Phil Foden, Mason Mount and more recently Conor Gallagher and Emile Smith-Rowe preferred.
Coventry City players with caps
The likely absence of Wilson and Maddison from the squad will be in keeping with the history of the England national team, which has rarely featured players from the city. Despite having a relatively successful youth academy, Coventry City FC has had very little representation in the England team in terms of present and former players winning caps. The first was Reginald Matthews, who won 4 caps in 1956 while playing in goal for City. Despite starting all 4 games Matthews was never called up again, meaning he was unable to add to his caps.
Sky Blues fans had to wait another 27 years to see their next representative, Daniel Thomas. He was a right-back called up by the late great Bobby Robson for a pair of friendlies against Australia having impressed for Coventry City. He played the full 90 minutes in one of the games and came on as a substitute in the second but seemingly didn’t do enough to impress the manager as he was never called up again.
Four years later the legendary Cyrille Regis received one of his five caps while playing for the Sky Blues. Fans at the time certainly felt he should have received many more opportunities, but he was only the third black player to play for England after Viv Anderson and Laurie Cunningham.
The last player to win England caps while playing for Coventry City was Dion Dublin, who made all four of his appearances for the national team while playing at Highfield Road. He was unlucky not to go to the World Cup that year after winning the Premier League golden boot that season.
Former Sky Blues academy players with caps
Daniel Sturridge was the last player to spend time in the Coventry City Academy before going on to win England caps. He joined City from Aston Villa as an 11-year-old and played for the club for three years before moving to Manchester City, where he went on to make his professional debut. He has 26 caps for England and was involved in the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 squads.