We’re just a few months away from England manager Gareth Southgate having to make a big decision on which players to name in his squad for the Euro 2021 championships. Given that much of the tournament is set to be played on home soil, it’s unsurprising that England have been named one of the bookmakers’ favourites to go on and clinch their first ever European championship.
In order to challenge in the latter stages of the competition, Southgate’s men will need the firepower to scare the best defences across the continent. Many football pundits still firmly believe that England’s best front line should include Jamie Vardy, as well as Tottenham icon Harry Kane. Kane has made himself the focal point of Southgate’s attack in the last couple of years, alongside Raheem Sterling. But there is still a feeling that if either has an off-day, there is little behind them to come off the bench and dominate backlines late on.
Enter stage left, Jamie Vardy. The Leicester City legend is still in the form of his life, despite retiring from international football three years ago. The 34-year-old remains in outstanding goalscoring touch, having bagged 11 goals in 18 Premier League appearances so far in the 2020/21 campaign. His reliability in front of goal has helped Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes back into the top four of the EPL and challenging for the title once again. It’s for this reason that many believe Southgate should look to entice Vardy out of international retirement for a final swansong on home turf.
There are absolutely no concerns regarding the fitness of Vardy, despite his advancing years. He’s played at least 35 league games a season for Leicester in five of their last seven seasons. Age is not really an issue either for Vardy given that he was a relatively late bloomer into the world of professional football, having signed for Leicester from Fleetwood Town in 2012 who were plying their trade in the Conference Premier at the time.
In fact, some say that his impeccable fitness record belies his personal health regime. During the last European Championships in 2016, Vardy admitted that he did not exercise in the gym and regularly consumed highly caffeinated drinks like Red Bull. Vardy was also one of the first professional footballers to publicly endorse the use of snus, powdered chewing tobacco used as a healthier alternative to cigarettes. Originating from Sweden, this website explains the difference between the original Swedish snus brands and those popular in the US. The bottom line on his lifestyle choices is that Vardy is on top form.
Southgate confirmed in October that he “still communicates a lot” with Vardy and did not close the door on his return to the squad in the summer of 2021. Crucially, Vardy himself did not formally announce his international retirement, which has always left the door ajar for a final appearance in the Three Lions jersey. First and foremost, Vardy will want to help Leicester to their highest possible finish in the 2020/21 EPL campaign. The Foxes are well and truly in the shake-up for a top-four place and a Champions League spot, but a second title looks beyond the