Sunday 24 March 2019

Vardy to start against Italy despite Dutch disappearance

Leicester City's Jamie Vardy. Photo: Reuters
Leicester City's Jamie Vardy. Photo: Reuters

Matt Law

Jamie Vardy is set to start for England against Italy at Wembley tomorrow night despite admitting that he failed to touch the ball during his 22-minute substitute appearance against the Netherlands.

England manager Gareth Southgate started with Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling up front in Amsterdam as he looks at alternatives to Harry Kane, who is injured.

Vardy replaced Rashford in the 68th minute of England's 1-0 victory over the Dutch, but, incredibly, did not touch the ball once during his time on the pitch.

The 31-year-old thought it was the first time in his career, dating back to his non-League days, that he had spent a significant period of time on the pitch without managing to touch the ball at all.

Asked if he had touched the ball, Vardy said: "No! It's probably never happened to me before, but I did a lot of running.

England have scored only three goals in their last five games, during which time they have not scored more than once in a single match. But Vardy is currently on a hot streak of form, having netted seven times in his last nine Leicester appearances.

"I just give 100 per cent in every game and keep getting my goals and, hopefully, that will continue until the end of the season and get me selected for the World Cup squad," said Vardy. "But you don't take anything for granted. I hope that first and foremost I'm playing well for Leicester to give me a chance. The past nine games I've been getting the goals and long may that continue."

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