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Before turning professional, Vardy combined playing non-League football with a job as technician making medical splints. In 2007, he received a conviction for assault following an incident outside a pub, and had to play with an electronic tag fitted for six months, while his curfew also limited his playing time at Stocksbridge Park Steels. Ian Wright, who also rose from non-League football to the Premier League and English national team, wrote in October 2015 that Vardy could be England’s equivalent to Salvatore Schillaci at UEFA Euro 2016: Schillaci, another late bloomer, began the 1990 FIFA World Cup as a substitute behind more established players, and ended it as the top scorer. Wright, who first learnt of Vardy when his former Burnley teammate Micky Mellon signed him for Fleetwood, rates Vardy as a hard-working player with a good first touch, who creates constant work for defenders, and plays by instinct instead of being moulded by his managers. Although he usually plays in a central role as a striker, he is a versatile player, who is capable of playing in several attacking positions, and has also been used as a winger. In addition to his goalscoring, Vardy is known for his high work-rate, relentless running, and direct approach, and is also capable of creating chances for his teammates. He is an extremely fast and dynamic striker, with good positioning, and an excellent sense of space in the area; he is also known for his ability to play on the last defender’s shoulder, time his runs to beat the defensive line, and stretch opponents, which, combined with his pace, makes him a threat on counter-attacks. A composed finisher and an accurate penalty taker, he is also good in the air, and capable of striking the ball powerfully with both feet. England coach and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville commented on how Vardy’s approach influences teammates: “He sets the tempo and the tone for the rest of the team and gives no other player behind him any excuse for not working hard.” According to Leicester vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, Vardy drank heavily every night during his early days at the club, and would turn up at training still intoxicated. Srivaddhanaprabha discussed with Vardy over what he expected in his life, and Vardy gave up drinking and took training more seriously from then on.
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England National Team
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Jamie Richard Vardy is an English professional footballer who plays as a striker for the England national team. After being released by Sheffield Wednesday at the age of sixteen, Vardy began his senior career with Stocksbridge Park Steels, breaking into the first team in 2007 and spending three seasons before joining Northern Premier League club FC Halifax Town in 2010. Scoring 26 goals in his debut season, he won the club’s “Player’s Player of the Year” award, then moved to Conference Premier club Fleetwood Town in August 2011 for an undisclosed fee. He scored 31 league goals in his first season at his new team, winning the team’s “Player of the Year” award as they won the division. In May 2012, Vardy signed for Leicester City in the Championship for a non-League record transfer fee of £1 million, and helped the team win the Championship in 2014. In the 2015–16 Premier League season, he scored in eleven consecutive Premier League matches, breaking Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record, and was voted the Premier League Player of the Season and FWA Footballer of the Year as outsiders Leicester won the title. Vardy made his international debut in June 2015 and was selected for UEFA Euro 2016.
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On 21 May 2015, Vardy was called up to the England national football team for the first time ahead of a friendly against the Republic of Ireland and a UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying match against Slovenia. He made his debut on 7 June in the goalless draw against the Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, replacing captain Wayne Rooney for the final 15 minutes. On 30 August, Vardy was again called up to the England squad for the games against San Marino and Switzerland in UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying, being selected in the starting line-up as England ran out 6–0 winners against San Marino in Serravalle six days later. Vardy scored his first international goal on 26 March 2016, equalising with a back heel from Nathaniel Clyne’s cross, as a substitute in a 3–2 away win against Germany. He scored again, three days later, the opening goal in a 2–1 defeat to the Netherlands at Wembley. Vardy made his tournament debut on 16 June, in England’s second group match at UEFA Euro 2016, coming off the bench in the second half to score an equalising goal against Wales, helping his team come from behind to win the match 2–1. During the tournament, there were media rumours of a feud between Vardy and fellow striker Rooney, which were denied by manager Roy Hodgson.