LONDON, March 30 – Jamie Vardy believes his goal-scoring exploits with England will provide the ideal confidence boost as he returns to the task of firing Leicester to the Premier League title.
After terrorising Premier League defenders throughout a remarkable breakthrough season, Vardy transferred his talents to the international stage with his first two goals for England against Germany and the Netherlands.
The 29-year-old striker’s impressive displays likely cemented his place in Roy Hodgson’s squad for Euro 2016 and Vardy can now turn his attention to the final weeks of Leicester’s astonishing bid to win their first top-flight title.
Claudio Ranieri’s team are five points clear of second placed Tottenham with seven games remaining and, with his confidence sky-high, Vardy, who has 21 goals for club and country this term, can’t wait to take on Southampton at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.
“I feel brilliant personally. The goals can only be good for my confidence,” Vardy said.
“Going back to training this week off the back of scoring two goals, hopefully I’ll be scoring at the weekend.”
Vardy’s influential cameo and impudent flicked finish in England’s 3-2 friendly win over Germany added to the former non-league player’s incredible rise to prominence, but he is determined not to let the increased attention distract him.
“I’ve not seen the goal that many times to be honest with you. “I don’t really look at my goals after I’ve scored,” Vardy said.
“The missus messaged me to say it was all over Twitter but I like to stay relaxed if possible.”
Vardy admitted he was frustrated that his close-range opener in Tuesday’s friendly against the Netherlands didn’t prove the springboard to victory as the Dutch hit back to win 2-1 at Wembley.
But he remains convinced Hodgson’s men are capable of a good run at the European Championships in France.
– Reality check –
“We had a massive high at the weekend (against Germany) and losing without putting in the same tempo is very disappointing,” he said.
“But there are still positive things for us to take from the international week.
“Hopefully we will work on that to put it into action at the Euros.”
While Vardy’s place in the squad looks assured, he still has to elbow his way past Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge for a coveted spot in the starting line-up against Russia in the Euro opener on June 11.
“There’s massive competition and that is only good for us. It means everyone is going to be trying that extra two or three percent, which is always important in games,” Vardy added.
James Milner, who captained England on Tuesday in the absence of the injured Wayne Rooney, told his team-mates their defeat to the Netherlands, who failed to qualify for the Euros, should serve as a warning they still have much work to do before they can make an impact in France.
“We will have learnt a lot as a group moving forward. It shows the consistency needed if we are going to do well in the tournament,” Milner said.
“We didn’t play with the same intensity we did the other day. We had most of the ball and we didn’t move it quick enough.
“It’s a reality check. We have shown we can beat anyone with the result against Germany. But we need to be more consistent and do it game in and game out. ”