Jamie Vardy hopes to add another chapter to his Hollywood story by firing England to glory at Euro 2016.
The Leicester City striker’s incredible rise from non-league also-ran to Premier League champion is well-documented and Vardy made his mark on the international stage this week, with an equaliser from the bench as Roy Hodgson’s men came from behind to beat Wales 2-1 in Lens.
That victory put England top of Group B, a position they can cement with victory over Slovakia in Saint-Etienne on Monday, and Vardy is in contention for a starting berth amid concerns of the form and fatigue levels of Tottenham’s Harry Kane.
With a book in the pipeline and a movie documenting his rags-to-riches tale slated for 2017 – Vardy is sworn to secrecy on the identity of cast members – the 29-year-old also finds himself at the centre of transfer speculation linking him with a big-money move to Arsenal.
Nevertheless, while in France, he has a one-track mind.
“I always pinch myself,” Vardy said. “It’s no secret where I’ve come from with my football and I’ll always remember where I did come from.
“To be scoring in a European Championship for your country is unbelievable but I’ll always pinch myself to make sure I stay grounded.
“It’s easy [to focus]. We’re here for England. If you let things start distracting you, then you’re not going to be able to do that, which will then jeopardise the team as well. So everything gets completely blanked out except for England, England, England.
“I have always been one of them that as soon as you step over the white line, that’s it. The only thing is football. Nothing’s going to change that.
“I know what you’re saying [regarding the Arsenal distraction] but as soon as I come off that pitch, I am still straight back into the England camp. It’s easy. That’s all there is to think about.”
Vardy likens the jump from club to international football as similar to those between the other rungs he has scaled up the footballing ladder and he brings a fearless determination to his work for Hodgson’s side, one solidified by 24 Premier League goals on Leicester’s march to glory last season.
“There’s no point being afraid of teams,” he added. “You’ve just got to go out there with the mindset that whoever you’re up against, you can beat them. Anyone’s beatable, it’s as simple as that. That’s the mindset we need and hopefully we’ll take it into games.
“We know we’ve got a lot of ability in that squad. If you go into a tournament thinking that you’re not going to do anything, you might as well not be there because you won’t achieve anything.
“You’ve always got to put your sights to the max and hopefully keep progressing until you get there.”
Of course, Vardy knows all about that. But what would be the greatest achievement – Leicester’s Premier League success or an England triumph at Euro 2016?
“We’ll have to wait and see if it happens and then you’d have to ask me the same question again,” he replied.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!