Jamie Vardy: England & Leicester striker 'fears nothing' - Mangan

Jamie Vardy celebrates scoring against West Brom
Jamie Vardy has only scored four goals this season, but also has eight assists

Leicester City's Jamie Vardy "fears nothing" and will embrace the challenge of being part of the England squad, says former strike partner Andy Mangan.

Vardy, 28, has gone from playing in Fleetwood Town's Conference title-winning side of 2012 to receiving his first international call-up.

Mangan told BBC Radio Leicester: "He can be playing against John Terry, which he has, and he doesn't care.

"He just goes out and plays his football. He fears nothing."

Mangan, who helped Shrewsbury win promotion from League Two this season, said Vardy "had a few tears" after receiving the news of his England opportunity.

Vardy, who became the most expensive non-league footballer when he signed for the Foxes in May 2012, has been included in England manager Roy Hodgson's squad for the games against Republic of Ireland and Slovenia in June.

The Sheffield-born striker nearly gave up the game in 2013 after a tough first season with Leicester.

But he played a key role in the Championship-winning side of 2013-14 and has been a regular in the remarkable end-of-season run which has seen Nigel Pearson's side retain their Premier League status against the odds with one game still to play.

Mangan added: "I have spoken to him and and I genuinely can't believe it. He is one of my best mates and a great lad and I am so happy for him.

"It's a dream come true - these things don't normally happen. It's unbelievable and he deserves it.

Jamie Vardy (left) and Andy Mangan
Jamie Vardy's goals and assists helped Fleetwood to the Conference title in 2012, says Andy Mangan (r)

"He was brilliant for me because he set up all my goals, and he got me all my penalties. I scored 24 the season we won the league with Fleetwood and he scored 34.

"If we didn't have Jamie Vardy, there is not a chance we would have won that league."

Vardy was released by Sheffield Wednesday at the age of 16 and, following his rejection by the Owls, he was charged with assault after getting involved in a fight in a pub.

He had to wear an electronic tag and was often forced to race back from games to beat a curfew while he rebuilt his career playing for Northern Premier League side Stocksbridge Park Steels.

Stocksbridge chairman Allen Bethel told BBC Radio Leicester: "Getting an England call-up should give every encouragement to any young footballer at league and non-league level to believe that if they continue to work hard they can still make the grade.

"Jamie was given a knockback by Sheffield Wednesday and spent seven years with us.

"It was immediately obvious he was a little different. He had fantastic pace, tremendous energy, a will to win, two good feet and was good in the air."

Playing his part in Leicester's Great Escape
Jamie Vardy has only scored four goals this season but three of them came in recent victories and he has as many Premier League assists from open play as Chelsea's Eden Hazard (eight).

Bethel added: "He didn't miss a training session and he was always first to arrive and the last to leave. He had two years in the under-18s and then into the second team playing against older men from the Barnsley area, which was a big physical test. He didn't hit it off with the first-team manager, so went back to the second team.

"But a new manager came in, he got him back into the squad and the rest is history. He had something different. Rotherham offered £2,000 so we told them to get lost, but eventually he was ready to move on and we ended up passing him in to good hands at Halifax."

Vardy joined Fleetwood from FC Halifax in August 2011 and, after three seasons with Leicester, could now make his international debut when England face the Republic of Ireland on 7 June.

Top Stories