Sheffield Wednesday: Owls legend Mel Sterland backs Jamie Vardy to blossom

Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy

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Owls great Mel Sterland is urging England boss Roy Hodgson to unleash Sheffield-born striker Jamie Vardy at the European Championships.

Vardy, who is contemplating a move to Arsenal, is in contention to start England’s Group B opener against Russia tomorrow, having notched 24 goals for Premier League champions Leicester City.

It is the first time the 29-year-old, released by Sheffield Wednesday, the club he supported as a child, for being too small, has ever been involved in a major tournament.

But former England international Sterland is backing Vardy to terrorise defences this summer.

“Jamie is a fit, agile lad who will frighten defences with his pace,” Sterland told The Star. “Defenders hate playing against him because he’s a nuisance.

“He closes you down so quickly, works hard and is a threat in behind.

“Jamie never goes in for an aerial battle with the centre-half. He plays on the shoulder of the defender and can beat anyone for pace. His finishing has improved so much.

“Jamie is a Sheffield lad so I hope he does well. He could be England’s saviour.”

After England’s early exit from the World Cup two years ago, Sterland expects the national team to fare much better this time around.

“They should get out of the group,” said the ex-Wednesday right-back. “If we don’t, we have got big problems.

“The Russia game is massive. If England get off to a flier, that could set the tone for the rest of the championships. You get into good habits when you are winning.”