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Vardy not ruling out England return but wants other forwards to get chance

15:24 BST 18/06/2020
Jamie Vardy Leicester City 2019-20
The Leicester City forward won his last international cap at the 2018 World Cup, but he hasn't shut the door on featuring for Gareth Southgate's team

Jamie Vardy says he will not completely rule out a return to international football, but wants to see younger strikers given an opportunity with England before him.

Leicester City striker Vardy won 26 caps for his country, the last of which came in the 2018 World Cup semi-final defeat to Croatia, after which he informed England manager Gareth Southgate that he wanted to focus on his club career.

The 33-year-old has remained one of the most feared strikers in the Premier League, scoring 19 goals in the 2019-20 campaign to top the scoring charts before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With Vardy in red-hot form and injury doubts over England forwards including Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford, there was talk of an England recall for the Foxes striker ahead of the European Championships.

However the tournament has now been pushed back until the summer of 2021 due to Covid-19, meaning a return to the international fold for Vardy is now less likely.

Vardy says he has not completely shut the door on returning for England, but with several young England strikers - such as Chelsea's Tammy Abraham - breaking through, he feels the new generation should be given a shot before Southgate comes back to him.

He told The Athletic: “We’ve never totally closed the door, we made that clear. But there are a lot of really good, young England forwards out there and they’d benefit more — just say if I was there getting picked, I’m taking one of their places.

"I’ve definitely benefitted from getting a full summer, relaxing, just completely clearing your head. It just gives your body and your mind a complete shut-off.”

Having come through non-league football and having not played in the top-flight until he was 27, Vardy is now just one strike away from his 100th Premier League goal.

It looks likely that Vardy will reach the landmark with no fans to celebrate however, with the rest of the season to be played behind closed doors due to coronavirus social distancing measures.

“That will be strange,” he said. “But it’s not a normal situation that the whole world finds itself in. So you just have to try to be as positive as possible.”