Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare talked Jamie Vardy out of QUITTING professional football to work as a party rep in Ibiza by telling him he could play for England.
It was 2013 when striker Vardy had just five goals to his name after joining the then-Championship Foxes from non-League Fleetwood for £1million.
He was struggling, and out of Nigel Pearson’s side for whom Shakespeare was then joint-assistant manager with Steve Walsh.
The star wrote in his recent autobiography From Nowhere that he wanted to return to Fleetwood, or even quit football, during his tough debut season as a full-time pro.
It seems a far cry after the now 30-year-old helped Leicester into the Premier League, then smashed 24 goals to fire the 5,000-1 outsiders to the title last term.
Vardy has scored five in his past seven games, including netting for England, since Leicester sacked Claudio Ranieri and promoted Shakespeare into the hotseat.
Ahead of Sunderland’s visit on Tuesday, Shakespeare recalled the crunch meeting that put Vardy back on track, saying: “I remember the situation really well.
“Thankfully, he didn’t go to Ibiza — I think he has made the right decision.
“Jamie just needed the support and belief. He needed to know the management team had that belief in him. We even mentioned back then about not only playing in the Premier League, but also he had the attributes to play for the national team.
“Sometimes they do have self-doubt.
“Jamie would be the first to admit he was going through a rough patch. Myself, Nigel and Steve were here to support him.
“We told him we wanted him and believed in him. He just needed that support because he was doubting himself.”