Form won't get Vardy England central role

LONDON • England manager Roy Hodgson has warned Leicester City's Jamie Vardy that he should not expect his sensational form to translate into a central striking role for his country.

Vardy, who made his England debut in June, has scored in eight consecutive Premier League matches, leaving him two games shy of former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy's record of 10.

But he has been used as a wide forward in England's 4-3-3 system, flanking either Wayne Rooney or Harry Kane.

And, while Leicester team-mate Kasper Schmeichel has called for him to be given a chance through the middle, Hodgson said Vardy will play where he is told.

"As I sometimes try to do, always unsuccessfully, I'm just trying to defuse hype and make one very important point, which is that an England shirt is a very valuable commodity," Hodgson said.

"When you've only played two games (Vardy has actually played four), you are in no position to go to the coach and say, 'I'll play for England but only in this position'."

However, he added: "I expect the people who we play in forward positions to be strikers, in the box, to go past people either with or without the ball, to attack balls that are played forward.

"I expect them to have the ability to score a goal.

"Now if we're going to limit it to, 'Well you're only a striker if you've got the No. 9 on your back', you're talking about a world that I don't fully understand."

Vardy is currently the Premier League's top scorer with 11 goals while Leicester are riding high in third place.

Foxes manager Claudio Ranieri is happy to continue giving the 28-year-old licence to roam free up front as Leicester seek to maintain their 100 per cent record of scoring in every league match this season.

"Jamie is an intelligent player. What Roy Hodgson asks of him, he tries to do the best for the team, for the England squad. He's not selfish," the Italian said ahead of Leicester's clash against Watford today. "In my opinion, he has to be free. When he's free, he's amazing.

"But we play with two strikers, not with one striker. I am not Roy.

"I respect him, his shape. For me, in my team, he plays free, forward."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2015, with the headline 'Form won't get Vardy England central role'. Print Edition | Subscribe