MAN of the moment James Maddison has been tipped to play a crucial role as the Sky Blues bid for promotion and despite is young age the academy star admits he is looking forward to thriving under the pressure.
Tony Mowbray’s side begin their 2015/16 campaign at home to Wigan this Saturday and many fans and pundits have pinpointed Maddison as the club’s secret weapon to success.
The Coventry-born midfielder’s rise through the youth setup into the first team is a success story that has got fans and fellow players excited at what the new season will bring.
And Maddison is targeting a first team place for the Wigan clash in a bid to impress manager Mowbray and become a permanent fixture in his starting eleven.
“Last year was my breakthrough season and this year I want to really establish myself in the Coventry City first team,” the former Caludon Castle pupil told the Observer.
“Last year I played 18 games and 13 of them were off the bench.
“I had to have an impact coming off the bench which was fine because towards the end of the season we were in a bit of a relegation battle and I know he (Mowbray) wanted experienced heads.
“But it was all good experience for me. I was just happy to be playing and I’m happy I made an impact.
“Now I want to play from the start because I know I can do lot of good things and help the team.
“I just need to be given that opportunity, work hard and make the manager’s mind up for him by the way I play.
“If I’m doing well and hopefully doing enough to keep myself in the team he wont’ be able to leave me out. That’s my mentality.
“Personally I know what I’m capable of and I think if I’m playing games then my talent should hopefully come through.”
Despite his young age and lack of regular first team football, Maddison has already been linked with several Premier League clubs including the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
There have been plenty of scouts keeping track of his progress and as his journey into the first team continues, there are likely to be plenty more at the Ricoh Arena this season.
But the teenager is refusing to let any rumours over a possible move to the Premier League get in the way of his football.
“In football there’s always going to rumours and stories in the press – that’s part of the game and you’ve just got to learn to deal with it.
“I think I’m quite a wise lad despite my young age. I’ve got my head screwed on.
“It’s all part of the game. Things like that are going to happen. If you want to play well, like I always do, I always want to play my best, if those performances that I’m displaying are of a good quality then there’s going to be interest.
“So you’ve just got to take it your stride and just try focus on the football.”
The Sky Blues are gearing for their fourth consecutive season in League One after dropping down to the third tier just over three years ago.
And after a busy summer both on and off the pitch, Maddison now has only one aim on his mind.
He added: “Our only aim has to be promotion this season. The gaffer has said to us and in the press that he’s not just signed a two-year deal with the club to stay in this league.
“The new gaffer has come in and changed a few things. He didn’t have time to do it last season but after signing his contract he’s had the training ground done up, we’ve not go the Nike sponsorship and everything is looking positive.
“All those little things can help and it’s just beginning to feel more professional. There’s a good spirit around the place.
“He wants to get out of this league as soon as possible, as do all the fans and players.
“Hopefully we can have a positive start to the season and really kick on to give the fans something they deserve.
“I’ve grown up coming through the club’s academy and I’ve always been with Coventry throughout my career from a young age.
“Now I’m finally at a stage where I can hopefully give something back to the fans. They’ve had a bit of a rough time over the past few years – it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. But now it seems like we’re settled and we’ve got everything sorted.”