Jamie Vardy has revealed he received death threats after the sacking of Claudio Ranieri that became so bad that his wife and children were targeted in their car.
Leicester’s players were blamed for the sacking of Ranieri as manager, although Vardy has repeatedly denied any involvement in alleged meetings with the club’s owners ahead of the Italian’s dismissal.
Vardy’s insistence that he did not plot behind the back of Ranieri, who guided Leicester to the Premier League title last season, has not stopped him and his family becoming targets.
“Apparently the meeting that got him [Ranieri] sacked – absolute shambles – I read one story that said it was straight after the Sevilla game,” said Vardy. “It said I was personally involved in a meeting when I was actually sat in anti-doping for three hours. A few of you waited around for an interview afterwards.
“Then, of course, the story is out there and people pick it up and jump on it, and you’re getting death threats about your family, kids, everything.”
When asked what form the death threats took, Vardy added: “On social media, you name it – walking down the street. To be honest, I get them every week. Football fans don’t seem to like me. I just get on with it, but when people are trying to cut your missus up while she’s driving along, with the kids in the back of the car. It’s not the best. It’s happened plenty of times. It is terrifying.”
Asked whether he had got the police involved, Vardy replied: “All that can happen is they get banned on Twitter. People get cut up, but if there are no cameras you’re screwed.”
Vardy is a hero among Leicester fans for his goalscoring exploits that helped the club to the Premier League title and for rejecting the chance to join Arsenal last summer.
England supporters also took the former non-League striker to their hearts during last year’s dismal European Championship campaign, but Vardy claims that supporters of Leicester’s opponents single him out for abuse.
“I just get abuse at every stadium that I turn up at,” said Vardy. “To be honest, you are always going to get stick from fans. It is part and parcel of football.
“I’m one that carries on and winds them up a bit. Do I enjoy it? Yeah, it’s just me. I couldn’t tell you why I get it, but it’s part of the game. I am not really fussed about it. It’s fine by me.”
Despite the death threats to him and his family, and the taunts from rival fans, Vardy has no regrets over his sensational rise from non-League football to international star. “I wouldn’t change it,” he said. “You’re bound to get all that stuff with it.”
Vardy also insists he has never regretted turning down Arsenal and did not let Leicester’s terrible form get to him before four successive victories, following the sacking of Ranieri, secured qualification for the quarter-finals of the Champions League and pulled the club out of relegation danger.
“If I’d played like that I would have been in the same situation at Arsenal, so no [I didn’t regret it],” said Vardy, who went 16 games without scoring for Leicester, but has netted four in his last five appearances.
“I don’t think you can let it get you down. That is the worst thing – you will just never want to go on the pitch again. You just have to keep working hard. If you keep working at the things that worked well in the past, there is a point where it will turn around and start working for you again.”
While Leicester’s run to the title shot Vardy and his Leicester team-mates to prominence all over the world, the 30-year-old admits that nothing compares to the pressure that goes with pulling on the England shirt.
Vardy was one of the few good performers in the England squad who were knocked out of Euro 2016 by Iceland and is now part of the latest new regime under Gareth Southgate who are preparing for tomorrow night’s friendly in Germany and the World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.
“There wasn’t really any pressure on us with Leicester,” said Vardy. “Our pressure was just getting to 40 points and after that what will be will be. We were just enjoying ourselves.
“But I think when you come with England, the spotlight’s put on you 100 times to what it would be at club level. You don’t have to read the papers and you don’t have to go on social media. But you’ll always have someone telling you what has been put out there, so you always get to hear about it.
“It is hard to sometimes to put it to the back of your head, but that’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to literally blank every single bit out and just concentrate on yourself, the squad and the match that you’re about to play.”
Vardy scored a brilliant goal in England’s 3-2 friendly victory over Germany last year that proved to be a false dawn ahead of the Euros and insists that nobody would get carried away by a similar result this time around.
“You have always got to go out there to try to win games,” said Vardy. “The more you keep winning, the better you will be as a team. So we are definitely going to go for a win.
“But if we do win, we will not read too much into it. At the end of the day, it is the next game for us. We will be going out to try to win, that’s it.”
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