James Maddison still might not get into Gareth Southgate’s England World Cup squad but he couldn’t have done any more in his final audition before Thursday’s announcement.
Maddison not only provided both assists as Leicester climbed out of the relegation zone all the way up to 13th. He also dictated play and got into areas to be a real goal threat. None of his five shot in the first half were too far away, and he got even closer in the second, striking the outside of the post.
It was easy to see why Leicester’s owners kept faith in Brendan Rodgers when they were bottom of the table. They were class apart from a strangely lethargic Everton and are now above them on goal difference.
James Maddison ran the show just five days before England’s World Cup squad is announced
The midfielder picked up two assists as Leicester defeated Everton 2-0 on Saturday evening
Youri Tielemans scored another stunner as the Foxes strolled to victory at Goodison Park
MATCH FACTS AND LEAGUE TABLE
Everton: Pickford, Coleman (Patterson 71), Coady, Tarkowski, Mykolenko, Iwobi, Gueye (Garner 46), Onana (Doucoure 61), Gray, Calvert-Lewin (Maupay 61), McNeil (Gordon 71).
Substitutes not used: Holgate, Keane, Begovic, Davies.
Leicester: Ward, Castagne, Amartey, Faes, Justin, Soumare (Ndidi 70), Maddison, Tielemans (Mendy 90), Dewsbury-Hall (Albrighton 78), Barnes, Daka (Vardy 70).
Substitutes not used: Iheanacho, Perez, Vestergaard, Iversen, Thomas.
Goals: Tielemans 45, Barnes 86.
Referee: David Coote.
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Goalkeeper Danny Ward, who will be in goal for Wales against Qatar, has kept four clean sheets in five, aided by The Foxes excellent new centre-half Wout Faes.
Youri Tielemans strike for the opening goal – a 25-yard half-volley after controlling on his knee – was just as stunning as his wondrous volley at Wolves. ‘I think it was better,’ he smiled. ‘I just tried to hit it perfectly and it was really good.’
A buoyant Maddison said afterward: ‘The result is what we were after but if you look at the performance, the whole team were brilliant.
‘We stifled every threat Everton had. It was everything you wanted in an away performance and puts our early-season poor form to bed.
Goalkeeper Danny Ward was in fine form for Leicester as he kept yet another clean sheet
‘I’d be lying if I said the World Cup wasn’t on my mind. It is the pinnacle. Youri is going with his country.
‘I always say the same thing. If I focus on Leicester, hopefully it does catch the eye of the England manager and force my way in.’
In contrast, Dominic Calvert-Lewin can forget about Qatar. Hoping to make a late dash into the squad after returning from injury, he missed a golden chance to equalise and then went down after an hour before limping off.
Maddison said after the game that he is hoping he can ‘force’ his way into the England squad
Dominic Calvert-Lewin, however, will almost certainly miss the tournament later this month
The forward walked down the tunnel in the second half after picking up yet another injury
Leicester were dominant from the opening whistle. Maddison tested the goal whenever he was close and Jordan Pickford had to narrow the angle to deny Patson Daka.
Everton were more direct but also occasionally threatened. Alex Iwobi missed the first chance of the game while James Tarkowski’s towering header was turned aside by Ward.
At the other end, the defender made a terrific block to stop Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall.
Tielemans’ strike opened the scoring just before half time as Leicester dominated throughout
Being the late game on Bonfire Night, it was no surprise the sound of fireworks around the city could be heard inside Goodison, with some mild accompanying haze.
A stray rocket presumably launched inside Goodison also ended up on the touchline with only a couple of minutes left in the first half and though it never threatened the players, referee David Coote had to call a temporary halt in play to clear the debris.
It distracted Everton more than their visitors who scored in fantastic style when play restarted.
Everton half-cleared a cross from Barnes but when Maddison herded the loose ball back to Tielemans – ‘a bad pass,’ joked the Belgian – it was finished in spectacular fashion, the final shot dipping past Pickford into the corner at the speed of a firework.
The Belgian was mobbed by his team-mates after netting another screamer in club colours
It was the first goal Everton had conceded in three matches but not the first special that Tielemans has managed this season. Besides his cracker at Wolves, he also hitting the crossbar against Manchester City last weekend.
Idrissa Gueye, who had been involved in a couple of hefty challenges in the first half, didn’t come out for the second, causing Senegal fans their own World Cup anxieties.
Calvert-Lewin’s big moment arrived early after the restart when he was slid through by Iwobi. Clean in on Ward, the Everton striker tried to slide in a low finish but the Wales international read his intentions and blocked.
Though Everton’s tempo was far better than earlier on, Leicester still looked dangerous on the break with Maddison pulling the strings and hitting the outside of the post with yet another shot.
Toffees manager Frank Lampard has been left with plenty to ponder following the defeat
Calvert-Lewin walked off gingerly to be replaced by Neal Maupay, the physio quickly assessing the situation and signalling for a substitute as he tended to the striker.
It didn’t help Everton’s cause. Even the arrival of local hero Anthony Gordon didn’t unsettle the peerless Faes.
Leicester deserved their late second. Maddison took his time to roll the ball into Barnes’ path to score. The other World Cup teams will hope the gifted playmaker he’s not on the plane.
Relive Sportsmail’s live blog for the Premier League clash between Everton and Leicester.