“You get a little bit star struck when you see John O’Shea,” he said in Newport yesterday, “because I was a big Man United fan growing up so to be training on the same pitch as him is amazing really.”
The key to the upsurge in Madden’s fortunes was a move last season to then League One Yeovil Town at a point when, the former Bohemians player readily admits, he was contemplating a return to Irish football after what turned out to be an unhappy spell at Carlisle United.
“Yeovil manager Gary Johnson gave me my chance and I’ve taken it,” he said.
Which is a bit of an understatement since taking his chances on the pitch — to the tune of 25 goals — is what saw Madden go on to win the League One ‘Golden Boot’ award, help Yeovil up into the Championship and prompt an understandably delighted Johnson to hail him as “the bargain of the season”.
Now the recognition is coming from the Irish management, with Marco Tardelli – who was in modest Huish Park to see Madden play for Yeovil in a 0-1 defeat to Birmingham on Saturday – happy to sing the young player’s praises yesterday.
“At this moment in particular I follow very closely Paddy Madden because I think that he’s a good player,” said Tardelli.
“He’s very quick and a clever player. He finds the moment to receive the ball in space and he runs well into space.
“It’s good and I like him. He played well in training.
“He has a good attitude with quality. I think he is the future,” he said.
Whether all that’s enough for Madden to make his senior debut against Wales tomorrow remains to be seen but, in the meantime, he’s clearly relishing this latest exciting twist in what has already been a rollercoaster career.
“It just shows you the ups and downs of football,” he said.
“At Carlisle, I was not really enjoying it and I was not really playing. But this just shows you that if you keep working hard then you will get the rewards.”