Go on,Jamie,prove the snobs wrong...

The Football League Paper - - NEWS -

CAN ev­ery­one pack it in with the snide, sneer­ing com­ments about Jamie Vardy not be­ing good enough to play for England? The Le­ices­ter striker has worked harder than any­body in Roy Hodg­son’s squad to pull on that fa­mous shirt. No­body ap­pre­ci­ates it more.

But in­stead of cel­e­brat­ing his rise, pun­dits and hacks have lined up to dis­miss the 28-year-old as a one-trick pony who of­fers only per­sis­tence and per­spi­ra­tion.

Which is noth­ing but a load of lazy snob­bery.What they’re re­ally think­ing is that a lad who worked in a fac­tory and spent half his life in Non-League has no place amongst the game’s blue bloods.

That grad­u­at­ing from a top-flight academy and be­ing a mil­lion­aire by 18 mag­i­cally be­stows a level of tal­ent that un­washed oiks like Vardy can only dream of.

For some rea­son, the English are wed­ded to the idea that a player is born bril­liant; you’ve either got it, or you ain’t. News­pa­pers, man­agers, fans on mes­sage boards – ev­ery­one ped­dles this weird, retro­rade clap­trap.

And if you once played for Stocks­bridge Park Steels and weren’t spot­ted by 24, well – you ob­vi­ously ain’t got it.

What ut­ter garbage. Roger Fed­erer spent thou­sands of hours hon­ing that silk and steel fore­hand. Muham­mad Ali sparred un­til his arms seized up. David Beck­ham was reg­u­larly the last man left at Car­ring­ton. None of them were born bril­liant. All of them worked to im­prove.

Vardy has im­proved too, and spec­tac­u­larly. A Con­fer­ence player three-and-a-half years ago, he is now the top scorer in the Pre­mier League, not to men­tion its fastest player. He can fin­ish too – just look at the tech­nique be­hind his two goals against Arse­nal.


So why the sneers? Well, while we all pur­port to love a Roy of the Rovers story, in re­al­ity most of us are a bunch of NIMBYS in­her­ently bi­ased against lower league play­ers.

Sign an ex­ot­i­cally named for­eigner or pro­mote a young­ster and we speak of po­ten­tial in hushed tones, for­giv­ing ev­ery er­ror or duff touch.

But when that Sky Sports ticker apolo­get­i­cally an­nounces the ar­rival of a bloke from League One, we moan about a lack of am­bi­tion and ex­pect mir­a­cles from day one. Karl Robin­son called it right when I went to see him ear­lier this year.“You get pi­geon­holed as a ‘lower league player’,” said the MK Dons boss.

“If some­body had scored the goals Char­lie Austin scored in the Span­ish Se­gunda, he’d have been bought by a top­five club in La Liga. If he then went up and scored goals like he has for QPR (last) sea­son, he’d be go­ing to a big, big, club.

“But be­cause he’s Bri­tish and he’s come through the lower leagues, he doesn’t get the re­spect he de­serves. It’s hugely frus­trat­ing.


“For me, the me­dia have a lot to an­swer for.They don’t want to mar­ket Bri­tish tal­ent.They pre­fer to jump all over fancy ex­otic names.”

It’s why, when Luis Suarez or Alexis Sanchez hus­tle and harry and chase ev­ery lost cause, they’re world-class.When Vardy does it, he’s a one-di­men­sional trier. When Wayne Rooney mis­places a pass or takes a heavy touch, he’s hav­ing a bad day at the of­fice. When Vardy does it, his tech­nique is a bit, you know, lower league.

When Harry Kane misses the tar­get, he’s still learn­ing.When Vardy does it, he’s been found want­ing at in­ter­na­tional level. You can’t have your cake and eat it. How of­ten have we heard the moans about pam­pered prima don­nas who don’t care about play­ing for England?

Yet now, when a lad comes along will­ing to crawl over hot coals for a cap, we mock his hum­ble be­gin­nings and lam­bast his abil­ity.

Like Robin­son, I’m sick of see­ing lower league play­ers treated like sec­ond-class cit­i­zens and forced to prove them­selves like a state school kid at a Cam­bridge col­lege. Sick of hear­ing pun­dits write off a player be­fore he’s even pulled on an England shirt. Vardy is a qual­ity player whose per­for­mances for Le­ices­ter merit a crack at England.Those writ­ing him off are merely prej­u­diced snobs. I hope he proves them wrong.

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