Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy has been called up to the England squad for the first time and there is no doubt he deserves it.
Having represented Fleetwood Town in non-league football just three years ago, it is testament to Vardy’s work ethic that he becomes the first City player to earn the call-up since Ian Walker some eleven years ago.
Released as a youngster from Sheffield Wednesday, the 28-year-old has gone on to represent Stocksbridge Park Steels, FC Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town in non-league before making the move to Leicester in 2012.
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England manager Roy Hodgson’s decision to include Jamie Vardy in the senior squad comes as a surprise to some but fans of the Foxes will have welcomed the selection as their forward has inspired Leicester City’s great escape in the last two months.
A player who is no stranger to getting fans off their seats in excitement, Vardy’s exhilarating pace is an attribute which the current England squad lacks.
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Arsenal winger Theo Walcott and Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge have been in and out of the squad with injuries, whilst Danny Welbeck has struggled with form since making his move from Manchester United in the summer.
Vardy offers a different option for Hodgson and poses questions of opposition defenders which others will not ask.
Aside from his goals, of which the forward has only scored four this season, the Sheffield-born striker offers a work ethic that few others in England’s top flight can match.
Defenders struggle to get breathing space when Vardy is on the field, hounding defenders into mistakes, as seen in Leicester’s sensational 5-3 victory over Manchester United in September, before he scored a last gasp goal against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns, which signalled the start of Leicester’s incredible great Escape.
Non-league's most expensive ever player's effort is unquestioned, and 100% is all he knows what to give, an attribute the England squad has been crying out for since the days of Paul Gascoigne.
Far from saying Vardy will become the next ‘Gazza’, whether he can take the international stage by storm remains to be seen, but the Leicester man will give everything for his country, and fans up and down the land will welcome his passion which the Leicester fans have become so endeared to.
Love him or loathe him, Vardy’s call-up is a true ‘Roy of the Rovers’ story and a poignant message to players and kids everywhere that dreams really do come true.
Do you think that Jamie Vardy is exactly the type of player England have been missing since the days of Paul Gascoigne? Leave your comments below!