Vardy backs ‘loyal’ Drinkwater to earn fresh England chance
Jamie Vardy has backed Danny Drinkwater to force Gareth Southgate to give him another England chance before next year’s World Cup. Drinkwater had to turn down a late call-up by England manager Southgate for the friendlies against Germany and Brazil while he recovers from a calf injury. That decision prompted suggestions that the Chelsea midfielder may have squandered a chance to make the World Cup squad. But Vardy, who played with Drinkwater at Leicester City and is a friend of the 27-year-old, believes his former club-mate can play his way back into Southgate’s plans.
Asked if he thought Drinkwater could get into the England squad once fully fit, Vardy replied: “Definitely. If he is playing the best he can, then why not? He should be in with a shot, but it is down to him to make sure he puts the performances in there.”
Vardy rejected questions over Drinkwater’s loyalty to England by adding: “I think he definitely wants to play for his country but, to be honest, he has been struggling to get a bit of match time. He was injured and he needs to get the matchsharpness back. He has been doing that in recent weeks for Chelsea and he needs to keep building that up.”
With Harry Kane and Dele Alli missing through injury, Southgate changed his formation against Germany and played with a front two of Vardy and Tammy Abraham.
Vardy impressed and thinks England have found the plan B they were lacking in the European Championship, when they were eliminated by Iceland, in time for the World Cup. “I think we have definitely got to learn from that,” he said.
Vardy would like to partner Kane from the start for England, but insisted that was Southgate’s call. “It would be interesting to see how that [a front two with Kane] worked, but team selections, tactics and formations are down to the gaffer,” he said. “But we’ve shown we can play in a different system and that is what we will have to do. We always need a plan B or plan C heading into a tournament.”