Leicester City hero Jamie Vardy has announced his retirement from international football to focus on his club duties and to spend more time with his family. The striker has left the door open to a possible return at a later date, but he will not be in the England setup for the upcoming friendly against Switzerland in September.
As a City fan (and unabashed fan of the man himself), Vardy’s international career was equal parts joy in his being selected and frustration with England managers refusing to deploy the former Fleetwood Town man or playing him out of position. Jamie Vardy is many things, but “left winger” is notably absent from that list regardless of what Roy Hodgson believed.
In spite of his frequent use as a substitute and/or in an unfamiliar position, Vardy’s scoring record for England was solid. He found the net 7 times in 29 appearances. For reference, the man who started alongside Harry Kane (and there’s no arguing Kane’s credentials), Raheem Sterling, has found the net twice in 44 matches. Over the course of his England career, the former Sheffield Steels man bagged one goal every 189 minutes.
Just like he does in the league, Vardy was at his best against top international competition. His 7 goals came against:
- The Netherlands
On the off chance that you don’t remember his first international goal, or if you do and would just like to relive it, here ya go:
All of which is a long of way of saying that Vardy’s England career should in no way be regarded as a disappointment. England’s style of play, which eschews “fast attacks” and “scoring a lot of goals” never truly suited him. We’ve said and thought it many times here on Fosse Posse: The only man in the world who can stop Jamie Vardy from scoring is the England manager.
Since we’re talking about Leicester City’s greatest #9 (apologies to Mr. Worthington), The Guardian did a marvelous piece on him yesterday that you should go read right now. We’ll wait...you back? That was good, wasn’t it? It’s a reminder of just how far Jamie Vardy has come, not just from non-league football to winning the title, but from the unfinished product who arrived at Leicester versus the confident finisher who now expects to score with every change.
It’s also an excuse for me to link my favorite goal from my twenty-plus years supporting the club. It’s the goal that turned “The Great Escape” from a faint hope into an unstoppable act of fate and, in many ways, set the table for winning the title the next year:
What the video doesn’t show is that Vardy absolutely mugged former Fox Gareth McAuley on the wing to win the ball. Once he takes it, there’s no question in anyone’s mind what he’s going to do. There’s no finesse to it; it’s power, it’s pace, and it’s desire. It’s everything that makes me hope that Jamie Vardy remains in a Leicester shirt until the sun is a cold, dark lump of coal.
Vardy still has all of the desire and most of the pace, but he’s become one of the craftiest, most-clinical finishers in the Premiership. He says “I think you have to be self-critical like that as a striker. You’d love to score every single chance,” but he’s now reached the sublime heights where he scores from situations that even the most-optimistic pundit wouldn’t describe as a “chance”.
That’s a good deal more than just power, pace and desire in that one. That is a sublime finish that Messi would be proud of. No one expects to score from that position, so to do so is a little bit audacious.
Of course, that wasn’t even his goal of the season. His goal of the season was The Goal of the Season, and even Vardy admits that he probably couldn’t pull it off again. This isn’t just a striker’s goal; it’s the stuff of legends:
This is the same Jamie Vardy who couldn’t get into the side when he joined the Foxes because his touch was so poor and his shooting wasn’t accurate enough. This is a man who came from the bottom rung of football to win the Premier League and represent his country in the World Cup, and instead of resting on his considerable laurels, he keeps working to improve himself because 20 goals in a season isn’t good enough for him.
So, Jamie Vardy may have retired from international football, but I’ll continue to wear my #11 England kit with his name on the back of it until it is so threadbare that it falls apart. And then I’ll wear my second one that I’m keeping as a backup in case anything happens to the first. I love Jamie Vardy. He’s the best player ever to wear a Leicester shirt and that’s a hill I’m prepared to die on.
Since you stuck around until the end, we have a present for you. You didn’t think I was going to link all of those Vardy goals without including That Goal against Liverpool, did you?