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Gareth Southgate not ruling out future England recall for Jamie Vardy

England v Belgium – FIFA World Cup 2018 – Group G – Kaliningrad Stadium
(Image credit: Adam Davy)

England manager Gareth Southgate is refusing to rule out a future recall for Leicester striker Jamie Vardy.

The 33-year-old stepped away from international duty after the 2018 World Cup to focus on his club career.

Vardy, though, never officially announced his England retirement and has been in fine form for the Foxes for some time.

Jamie Vardy scored a hat-trick for Leicester against Manchester City

Jamie Vardy scored a hat-trick for Leicester against Manchester City (Catherine Ivill/PA)

He finished last season as the Premier League’s top goalscorer, winning the golden boot after hitting 23 goals in 35 appearances as Leicester narrowly missed out on Champions League qualification.

Vardy has started the current campaign in similar form, scoring five in the opening three fixtures – including a hat-trick in Sunday’s 5-2 win at Manchester City.

England still have captain Harry Kane to rely on for their goals, while in-form Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin has also earned his first call-up for the forthcoming games against Wales, Belgium and Denmark.

“We know that Jamie is still around and we still communicate a lot,” Southgate said when discussing his attacking options.

“I think at this moment in time we are in agreement that it’s good to keep looking at these younger players, he is 32,33.

“He has got a lot of football (left), he has a bit of an injury at the moment, I think.

“But I’m not in any way ruling him out if it’s the right thing at the right time to bring him back into the fold.”

A recall would more likely have been on the cards should Euro 2020 have taken place earlier this year before being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford are two of England's options up front

Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford are two of England’s options up front (Nick Potts/{PA)

Kane and Marcus Rashford were both in a race against time to recover from injury to feature – but even then Vardy revealed last year that he had not been approached by Southgate.

He told Sky Sports: “Who knows?

“Gareth and I were both agreed that the door would still be open for whatever reason and then we would sit down and have a talk about it.

“We’ve not had the chat or anything yet and nothing has been spoken about.

“The lads (Kane and Rashford) are out injured, but they’re looking to be back in time. So only time will tell.”

With Danny Ings and Tammy Abraham also available – and Mason Greenwood expected to return to the fray in the near-future – the forward line is looking good for the Three Lions.

Calvert-Lewin, in particular, has been in fine form with eight goals in five games for the Toffees this season, and Southgate has been impressed by the 23-year-old.

“I guess in terms of the way he holds the ball up and his build-up play being reliable, he has some similarities,” he said when asked if Calvert-Lewin was the most natural understudy to Kane.

Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin has earned his first England call-up

Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin has earned his first England call-up (Alex Livesey/PA)

“Always with players, you don’t like to compare because they are all individuals and they all deserve to be treated and acknowledged as such.

“His link play is an important part of his game. He has a fantastic leap, the ability to score outstanding headed goals is something that stands out that maybe one or two of our other centre-forwards don’t have.

“We need that competition. We need to keep pushing Harry as well. It can’t just be that Harry is on the teamsheet without having to fight for his own place as well.”