Cloudy with a chance of Jamie Vardy?
International retirement is a landmark for players. They no longer feel that their services are either required or good enough for the national side. For many football-folk, international retirement goes unannounced and is just a mark of time coupled with a lack of appearances - others like Vardy, go out of their way announce the end of their international tenure.
All living males in England in the summer of 2016 drank Vardy-bombs. Any living creature within Leicester at the same time drank them in multitudes. His rise to fame from non-league and the unearthing of his Blue WKD advertisement made him iconic. He’s synonymous with UK culture from that time, such as the legend of the Foxes winning the league that season. It wasn’t on the cards and a striker who was plying his trade at non-league Stocksbridge just six years prior sent lightning bolts down English football.
Selected for around three-and-half-years, Vardy’s international career was short but sweet. 26 appearances mustered seven goals. The highlight being the equaliser in England’s Euro 2016 match against Wales; which set up Sturridge for the winning goal.
Now, the official line is that he’s retired as he wants to let Southgate employ youth into the team. He’s left himself available for a recall should there an injury crisis occur and he’s needed. Aged 31, is this a self-admission of decline? Often masqueraded as ‘concentrating on my club football’; the fans see the white flag and begin to wonder, how much time does the player have left?
Vardy’s story is amazing. It’s entertaining, humbling plus enjoyable to listen to the fairy tale of a man who was playing incredibly small time football work up the ranks to reach the ultimate glory of winning the Premier League title as well as representing his country at the World Cup. He’s definitely got more stories to tell and people genuinely appreciate listening to him. That’s why there are so many documentaries surrounding the player.
This would put him in good stature to step away from the pitch and in front of the cameras. He’s already done a fair few extended interviews and comes off well. With a little media friendly tweaking, he could be a Question of Sport team captain. Then again, there was humdrum of LCFC/Vardy movie. What role could he play? Himself? Executive producer? Authenticity advisor? Why not all three. Should it be a hit, maybe he could even line up a few more roles within other productions.
Vardy exudes a traditional diligent northern character. In the coming years, his pace is going to drop, eventually becoming unable to compete with the new boys in the Premier League. Where can a hard-working striker born north of Watford go, but still earn lots of money with success?
I’d suggest taking a Glasgow-bound train, where he could add to the lineage of Celtic players and compete in Europe again, or play a major role Steven Gerrard’s post-bankruptcy reconstruction of Rangers.
Both of the city’s clubs would facilitate an extension of his career as he’d play lower opposition but still enjoy the limelight as if wasn’t lowering his guard. This is the illusion of playing within the Old Firm. His character and legacy would fit the important clubs of Glasgow and he’d likely be welcomed with open arms.
He could, of course, follow so many others as before by going to America. There he could enjoy the beaches of California or the shopping streets of New York. He might not be used to such hedonistic settings, (Halifax/Fleetwood aren’t quite Malibu nor Brooklyn), but who couldn’t adapt? It depends if he is true to his hardworking roots, or fancies a more lavish way to end his career.
Foxes to Foreman
Vardy is committed to Leicester. He remained a loyal servant to the East Midlands club even when Arsenal threatened to take the player away with a large transfer fee. By doing so making a statement that he will probably not go to another team which sees him in direct competition with The Foxes.
This could lead him to future positions within the club, coaching or managing could be a logical step. Given the grandeur of his rise from non-league to England international, it’s hard to comprehend the amount of inspiration he could give to young players developing under him. His presence alone would rouse the new foxes as they are learning from a club legend.
Should he be efficient he may even find a management job away from Leicester, if he wanted to leave.
Return to Non-League
When you hear Vardy talk, he often discusses his hardworking mentality. This is more self-effacing than hubristic. Non-league is still non-league and befitting for the same mentality. His demeanour gives off an impression he’s the same person he was when he was turning out in the amateur fold. This could create a full career circle, allowing him to celebrate the level of football which created him.
Vardy might not be dwindling down in quality yet, but this is a forecast. Just like the weather, it could turn out different. There are strong indications of some kind of backwards path; a lower amount of goals scored, substituted off more and of course, the announcement of his international retirement.