CHANTILLY, France (AP) — Jamie Vardy could be forgiven for having other things on his mind than just playing for England while at the European Championship in France.
Fresh off inspiring Leicester to the Premier League’s most improbable title triumph, Vardy got married just two weeks before Euro 2016 began. About that time, he was the subject of a high-profile transfer offer from Arsenal that he’s yet to make a decision on, at least publicly.
Then, at England’s first match of the Euros against Russia, Vardy’s wife, Rebekah, tweeted that she got caught up in the violent scenes outside the ground that marred the game in Marseille.
It seems he’s coping with all the distractions just fine.
Vardy got his first taste of action at Euro 2016 as a halftime substitute against Wales in England’s second game, and made a quick impact by scoring within 11 minutes after coming on. Now he could start against Slovakia on Monday as England look for a win to clinch first place in Group B.
He was asked Saturday if he had any news regarding the potential move to Arsenal for a reported 20 million pounds ($28.7 million), replying: “No, nothing at all. I’m completely focusing on England. That’s all I want to do at the moment.”
And on his wife and the security situation at Euro 2016, where there has been frequent outbreaks of crowd trouble, Vardy said: “I’m not concerned about security at all. Everyone’s behind the security 100 percent … It’s just an unfortunate mistake that happened (in the Russia game).”
Vardy has arguably been the talk of an otherwise calm England camp so far in France. Aside from the goal against Wales and the constant speculation over his club future, he was spotted using nicotine pouches and drinking Red Bull before a training session.
“(The team doctors) are fine with them,” Vardy said. “There’s nothing wrong with them. They are more than happy I’m on them.”
Vardy has also resorted to blocking on social media a lookalike who has been making the most of his resemblance to the Leicester striker by appearing on television and at events.
“Am I not allowed to block anyone?” Vardy responded when asked by a Russian journalist why he had blocked his lookalike.
What really matters to Vardy is what happens between the white lines. England coach Roy Hodgson has to decide whether to keep playing Harry Kane or start with Vardy and/or Daniel Sturridge against Slovakia.
Asked if he can understand why Hodgson might want to keep Vardy as a so-called “impact sub,” the quick striker said: “I can see the logic definitely, when players are getting tired it is probably easier to exploit, but I am happy either way.
“I think it is tough for (Hodgson). But competition for places is good for the squad itself. And with the options we have got available, we can use different systems as well.”
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