X

Jamie Vardy Retires from International Football, Won't 'Shut Door Completely'

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2018

England's Jamie Vardy speaks to the Russian media following a training session for the England team at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Spartak Zelenogorsk stadium, Zelenogorsk near St. Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, June 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Leicester City forward Jamie Vardy has announced his retirement from international football but said he "won't shut the door completely" and would answer the call for England in case of an injury crisis.

As reported by the Guardian's Stuart James, Vardy cited a number of reasons behind the decision, including his age, a lack of playing time and his family. The 31-year-old informed manager Gareth Southgate of his desire to call it quits after the 2018 FIFA World Cup and later reaffirmed his decision on a phone call.

Speaking to theΒ Guardian, the Leicester City ace said he had been thinking about retiring for some time:

"To be honest with you, this has been on my mind for a while. I’m not getting any younger and you can see, to be fair to the gaffer, he wants to make it more youthful, which obviously had its benefits during the World Cup – we got to the semi-finals and finished fourth, which is equal to the furthest we have ever been on foreign soil. So I just said to Gareth that I think it’s probably best from now on, especially with the way he wants to go, to bring youngsters in who he thinks have got the ability and start nurturing them into international football."

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18: Jamie Vardy of Leicester City during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers at The King Power Stadium on August 18, 2018 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMAG
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

He added the lack of regular playing time was a factor, and he would prefer to spend the time at home with his family rather than traveling to and preparing for a game he might not play in.

Vardy failed to score a single goal as England made it to the semi-finals at the World Cup, starting only one game. Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur was the primary option up front during the tournament, with Southgate opting to make use of Vardy's pace as a substitute late in matches.

The forward was a late bloomer, playing non-league football before signing for the Foxes in 2012, when they were still a Championship club. In that time he has scored 90 goals in 236 appearances and was a key member of the 2015-16 Premier League title-winning side.

He made his international debut in 2015 and scored his first goal for England a year later, against Germany. He has scored a total of seven international goals.

Vardy made plenty of headlines during his relatively short international career:

Sky Bet @SkyBet

🦁 Jamie Vardy's England career: πŸ‘Œ Audacious flick against Germany. πŸ”₯ Crucial goal against Wales. πŸ‘ World Cup and Euro appearances. 😎 Achieved the unimaginable. https://t.co/1GO0PA4DAG

The shift in focus to his club career makes sense, as Vardy signed a new contract in August. Per theΒ Telegraph, the deal will keep him at the King Power Stadium until the age of 35.

Vardy still has plenty to offer, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him return to the Three Lions at some point. Behind Kane, there's a lack of established options, with Marcus Rashford and Danny Welbeck currently the top men to fill in for the Spurs man.Β 

The likes of Tammy Abraham and Dominic Solanke have bags of talent but limited experience, so between now and the 2020 European championships, Southgate will hope other options emerge.Β 

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➑️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.