JAMIE VARDY has hailed England’s strength in depth and believes that the Three Lions can take considerable momentum into tomorrow evening’s Wembley friendly with Brazil following their vibrant performance against Germany.
England’s most inexperienced line-up for over 37 years made light of their lack of international pedigree to turn in a positive display in an encouraging 0-0 draw against the world champions on Friday, with the likes of midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford delivering outstanding performances, in particular.
The pair have provided Gareth Southgate with food for thought and with the England manager having shown no hesistation in promoting young players when he deems fit, the opportunity of others making a late claim ahead of next summer’s World Cup remains distinctly possible.
Meanwhile, ahead of tomorrow’s friendly, Southgate has promoted three more young players, calling up Liverpool striker Dominic Solanke and former Leeds United midfielder Lewis Cook, now at Bournemouth, alongside Manchester City goalkeeper Angus Gunn, on loan at Norwich.
Sheffield-born Vardy, one of four Yorkshiremen in England’s starting line-up on Friday, said: “A lot of players have dropped out and others have come in and with that performance, you can see we have a lot of depth.
“It is the same with Germany and they have a lot of options and we coped with them and played well and we will be taking that momentum over into the Brazil game.
Between us all, we are fully confident and know that on our day, we can beat anyone.Jamie Vardy
“Between us all, we are fully confident and know that on our day, we can beat anyone.
“He (Loftus-Cheek) got the man of the match and fully deserved it. He was getting in the space and picking the ball up in the pockets and breaking (on Germany) and causing them problems and that suits him down to a tee – and long may that continue.”
At 30 years old, Vardy – who picked up his 18th cap on Friday night – was England’s oldest outfield player with the starting line-up having amassed a combined total of just over 100 caps ahead of kick-off.
Yet despite a lack of hardened international experience, Vardy insists England still possess plenty of leadership on the field.
The Leicester City striker said: “To be honest, with the group we have got, the gaffer wants everyone to be a leader.
“Eric (Dier) had the captain’s armband, but on that pitch, every player was talking to each other and helping each other out.
“You need a team of leaders to obviously get better as a team.”
Vardy’s Foxes team-mate and fellow Sheffielder, Harry Maguire, also afforded himself a positive night on Friday in his first taste of Wembley as an England player, with the defender hoping for a further chance to impress in another marquee friendly tomorrow.
Maguire also revealed that the specific defensive input from manager and former centre-half Southgate, capped 57 times by his country in his playing career, is also helping to develop his game at an international level.
Southgate has made no secret about the fact that he wants his defenders to be progressive and express themselves on the ball, which is music to the ears of Maguire, who is cultivating a reputation as being one of the country’s most stylish ball-playing centre-backs, alongside Manchester City’s John Stones.
On the support from Southgate, Maguire said: “Especially when your manager was a centre-half himself who was good on the ball in his day, he always encourages us and wants us to play on the ball and be brave. He reiterated before the game that we were playing against a good team.
“Obviously he made a lot of changes, but he wanted us to be very brave. Not just in terms of blocking and heading clearances or heading at attacking corners -– he wanted us to be brave on the ball and everyone to be an option. I feel at times that we did that.
“He is working with the back three all of the time and has probably looked at that more than any other position because that is where he played. He was a centre-half himself, so we were always going to get great tips from him.
“I have been (also) fortunate enough to play with some great players in my position.
“At Sheffield United, I worked with Neill Collins and Chris Morgan very well; they were two centre-halves who were very experienced.
“I went to Hull and Steve Bruce was there and Michael Dawson. I have come to England with Gareth and I am now at Leicester where there is Rob Huth and Wes Morgan, who have won the Premier League.
“It has been great for my development in playing with such experienced players.”
Manchester United defender Phil Jones has withdrawn from the squad for tomorrow’s game after picking up a thigh injury in the draw with Germany.