Leicester City have been the story of the season so far and Jamie Vardy has led their remarkable rise from relegation battlers to shock Premier League table toppers. The 29-year-old striker is currently the league’s top scorer with 19 goals and he made history in November by becoming the first player to score in 11 consecutive Premier League matches.
As the season has gone on, the clamour for Vardy to be given a starting place for England at this summer’s European Championships has grown. Ahead of their opening Euro 2016 game against Russia, there’s no doubt that Roy Hodgson has some very tough decisions to make, and whether or not to include Vardy in his starting XI is probably the biggest of them all.
Why won’t Vardy start?
Vardy has been incredible this year but it’s easy to forget that this isn’t his first season in the top flight. Last season, in which Tottenham’s Harry Kane bagged 31 goals, Vardy only managed five in all competitions. The ex-Fleetwood Town player hasn’t yet proved that he can score regularly at the highest level year after year, and he has barely any international experience either with just four caps and no goals for the Three Lions.
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Lots of people will say that Vardy must start because he’s on such a high at the moment and he’ll ride his current wave of momentum to replicate his club form on the international stage. Everyone can agree that the former non-league footballer deserves to start, however it’s extremely unrealistic for people to think that Hodgson is going to drop someone like Wayne Rooney at a major tournament, given that he recovers from his current injury.
Not only did the 68-year-old appoint Rooney as his captain following Steven Gerrard’s retirement from international football, but the Manchester United forward became the country’s all-time leading goalscorer in September. What’s more, the England manager isn’t exactly lacking options upfront, with the likes of Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge recently returning from lengthy injuries, gradually regaining full fitness and scoring goals themselves.
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Hodgson is a very loyal manager and it’s more than likely that he will give starting places to the players who served him so well during England’s record-breaking Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. Welbeck, for example, scored six goals in just five games as England became only the sixth side in history to win all ten of their qualifying matches.
Style of play
England play a much more possession-based style of football in comparison to Vardy’s club Leicester, who average less than half of the ball in the Premier League. Vardy’s biggest threats are his blistering pace and his deadliness on the counter attack.
As England will have the majority of possession during the group stage matches, there will be no space for Vardy to run in behind to and Hodgson’s men will have to find ways of breaking down organised and packed defences. Therefore he could opt to play a more creative player like Ross Barkley ahead of Vardy, since the Everton star has the talent to split teams wide open with his passing ability.
What will Vardy’s role be?
The impact that a fresh Jamie Vardy could have in the final half an hour of matches, when opposition defences start to tire, could be huge. He has speed, the ability to stretch the game with his directness and he runs defenders ragged with his intensity and relentless work-rate. Leicester’s star man will most definitely have a pivotal role to play in England’s Euro 2016 campaign.
Who should start up front for England at Euro 2016? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!