sport news James Maddison and Jack Grealish are the good mates set for a big audition in ...

With the January window well underway, transfer talk is only intensifying as the Premier League's big clubs seek a strong end to the season.

and Tottenham are among those underperforming giants, struggling in their bids to secure Champions League football next season.

And Wednesday night could prove the perfect audition for two English playmakers, who have been trailed by both sides over the course of the season.

James Maddison and Jack Grealish will go head-to-head in the Carabao Cup this week

James Maddison and Jack Grealish will go head-to-head in the Carabao Cup this week

Maddison and Grealish are close friends and even went on holiday together last year

Maddison and Grealish are close friends and even went on holiday together last year

Leicester host Aston Villa in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final and it puts two of the most highly-rated youngsters in the Premier League up against each other.

James Maddison and Jack Grealish may be close friends off the pitch, but they will have to put that aside as they go head-to-head in more ways than one at the King Power Stadium.

Their key battle will be one of the leading subplots in what is a crucial two-legged tie for both sides.

Brendan Rodgers is seeking his first major trophy in English football, and one that would mark a hugely successful start to his era at Leicester. Maddison has been a major part of a Foxes side that look set to gatecrash the top four this season and has earned his maiden senior cap for the England team.

Villa, meanwhile, are seeking a first major trophy since 1996, but have another goal in mind. In their first season back in the top flight in four years, it's survival that takes top priority.

But this individual head-to-head could have ramifications beyond this season for either player. Both look destined for big-money moves in the near future - and this two-legged semi final is the ideal audition for their undoubted talents.

A stellar performance from either player here could lead to a big bid from one of their suitors, possibly even in January.

The onus has been on Villa captain Grealish to lead their hopes of survival this season

The onus has been on Villa captain Grealish to lead their hopes of survival this season

Maddison has been a main player in Leicester's push to finish inside the top four this year

Maddison has been a main player in Leicester's push to finish inside the top four this year

MADDISON V GREALISH - PREMIER LEAGUE 19-20  PREMIER LEAGUE 19-20 JAMES MADDISON  JACK GREALISH  Games Played 20 19 Games Started 19 19 Minutes Played 1683 1704 Goals 6 6 Assists 3 5 Goal Involvements 9 11 Mins/Goal Involvement 187 154.91 Shot Conversion Rate (inc. Blocks) 12 14.63 Total Shots 50 41 Shots, on Target 14 15 Chances Created (inc. assists) 49 52 Passes 968 782 Passing Accuracy 83.99 85.42 Dribbles Completed 37 39 Dribbles Success Rate 60.66 60.94 Fouls won final third 16 21 Possession Won Final 1/3 12 9 Games Won 13 6

The pair are friends, having grown up near each other and even holidayed together last summer. 

Maddison, 23, said earlier this season ahead of playing Grealish: 'Jack's a top player and he's the main

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