Sunday 22 January 2017

England's Jamie Vardy admits to using nicotine pouches and never going to the gym

Ian Herbert

Published 19/06/2016 | 10:25

Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy

England’s Jamie Vardy has admitted that he uses nicotine pouches and does not like spending time in the gym but has no intention of changing a routine which runs contrary to what is expected of a striker who wants to lead his country’s line deep into the European Championships.

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Vardy, who scored England’s vital equaliser against Wales in Lens on Thursday, was pictured last week holding a pouch of powdered chewing tobacco, known as snus, which sources at Leicester say he places in his mouth, underneath his gum, during games.

But despite one expert saying this week that the stimulant could boost performance by seven per cent and the anti-doping authorities monitoring it, Vardy insisted he had had the patches checked. “It’s just something I’ve always done and they’ve been checked with the medical team and there’s nothing wrong with them,” he said.

Vardy’s unconventional combination of stimulants also includes Red Bull, which provides extra caffeine and he said is an essential part of his morning routine. He was carrying a Red Bull can as well as the pouches when photographed one day this week at England's Chantilly base.

“It’s just standard me, a bit of Red Bull,” he said. “It’s a regular thing whereby I have a Red Bull every morning. It’s just something I felt I needed that day. I wouldn’t call it a diet, the Red Bull was just to wake me up in the morning.”

The player was unapologetic about the fact that he is less likely to be found in a gym than other players. When it was put to him that he never went in a gym, he replied:  “No, if I go in the gym it will slow me down. I don’t go in for weights or anything like that. Each and every person is different and this is my way, and I’m sure if someone else tried doing what I do then it probably wouldn’t work for them.”

Asked if anyone had tried to drag him into a gym, he replied: “Yeah, they’ve tried and not succeeded.” To the question of when he last lifted a weight, the Leicester striker said: “Probably that can of Red Bull the other day.”

In 2012 the World Anti-Doping Agency published a study which stated that nicotine increased "vigilance and cognitive function", and reduced stress and body weight, but while monitoring its use has not banned it. Vardy – who was pictured at the England base holding a white dry version called Thunder - is thought to have been introduced to the pouches as a way of giving up smoking.

The 29-year-old is considering his future at his current club Leicester, where he has been the subject of a £20m bid from Arsenal. But he refused to be drawn on that issue. “It’s been easy [to shut that out]. I’m here to concentrate and focus on England and that’s all I’m going to be doing,” he said.

Vardy claimed that he would not be annoyed if he was returned to the bench for England’s next group match against Slovakia in Saint Etienne on Monday. “No, I’m happy either way.”

He also claimed manager Roy Hodgson had not asked for a radical change during his half-time team talk in Lens, before bringing on Vardy and Daniel Sturridge. “He just told the team to do exactly what we had been doing,”  Vardy said. “We thought we were unlucky to come in at half-time losing and we were creating a lot of chances - so it was just to carry that on and put a few away.

“That [the substitutions] is down to the manager and what he thinks is best and it was his choice to put me and Studge on, and it’s worked. We’ve got the win and now we’ll just get back on that training field and focus on the next match.”

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