Jamie Vardy declares himself ready for the Euros next summer
Jamie Vardy, the Leicester City striker who claimed the Premier League player-of-the-month award for October, doesn't exactly lack confidence.
His self-assurance has long been clear on the football field, with the 28-year-old making a habit of snapping up any opportunity to bear down on his opponent's goal - whether playing for Halifax Town in the Northern Premier League or, now, Leicester in England's top flight.
But his belief in his own abilities has reached new heights this season thanks to a record-breaking run of scoring in the past ten successive league games that has taken him to the summit of the Premier League scoring charts equaling the league record held by Ruud van Nistelrooy for Manchester United.
And while he's the first to admit that he would never have predicted his spectacular rise from Conference striker with Fleetwood Town to international forward over the past three-and-a-half years - especially after being let go by hometown club Sheffield Wednesday aged 16 - he this week revealed that he's changed the date of his wedding in order to be available for next summer's European Championships in France.
To every single person that has supported me and never doubted me...Thank you.....I'm still pinching myself!— Jamie Vardy (@vardy7) November 21, 2015
One eye on the Euros
The fact that Vardy already has one eye on representing England at the Euros next year is testament to the manner in which he has flourished under Claudio Ranieri at Leicester this season.
Ranieri quickly identified Vardy's blistering speed and direct running as the attributes around which to build his attacking plans and the striker hasn't stopped scoring since the moment the Italian arrived back in England.
Vardy has found the net more times than Spain's league leader Neymar (nine) and is hot on the heels of Robert Lewandowski at Bayern Munich (14), a remarkable return for a player that was still playing non-league football aged 25 and joined Leicester for just £1 million in May 2012.
Determined to make it to the top
His rejection by Wednesday as a teenager prompted a disconsolate Vardy to give up playing for a year and it almost led him down the wrong track altogether.
He returned to football with local league club Stocksbridge Park Steels before his rapid progression led to a move to Halifax Town. Vardy scored 27 goals in his debut season and won the club's player's player-of-the-year award.
A year later, he joined Fleetwood, blasting them into the league with 31 goals and capturing the attention of then Championship side Leicester City.
"To be honest, there are a lot of good players out there in the Conference," Vardy said this week. "I think often it's a case of teams not willing to risk it. Fortunately for me, Leicester did.
"Because of the way I've come into it [professional football], I think I appreciate it more.
"You hear players in the past say that it's just a job for them. But for me it is nothing like that.
"I literally wish I could play football every day."
Late bloomer for England
Vardy, who made his national team debut in the goalless draw with the Republic of Ireland in June, was publicly rapped by England manager Roy Hodgson earlier this month when he demanded that he play down the centre for the senior side (Hodgson responded by stating that Vardy should be content with a place in the squad let alone the team).
As his outspoken views about a fledgling England career show, Vardy doesn't always realise his position in limelight.
Leicester also fined him and forced him to take diversity awareness training after the new England international was filmed using racist language in a casino during the close season.
Nevertheless, the confident Vardy has risked upsetting his fiancée Becky by moving their wedding to a midweek date at the end of May rather than the original date of a Saturday in June to demonstrate his commitment to England.
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