Saturday 19 August 2017 / 11:35 AM

VARDY MAKES THE RIGHT CALL

Jamie Vardy’s decided not to go to Arsenal, following my advice from a couple of weeks ago.

(Okay, so it probably wasn’t because of my advice, but you never know.)

Regardless of what you think about Vardy, or Leicester City, or football, it’s difficult not to feel your heart warming slightly at the fact that the striker has decided against jumping ship and pledged his loyalty to Leicester for what is likely to be the rest of his career.

Make no mistake, he could have gone. It would have been relatively easy for him to agitate for a move, and there’d be no shortage of clubs willing to pay for him.

And from his perspective, it was probably a difficult decision. After all, he’s not from Leicester, so he has no real loyalty to the Foxes. He’s 29. Leicester are highly unlikely to win the league against next season. This was his one chance to move to a ‘big club’, and he turned it down.

And whilst the reported £100,000 paycheque he’ll be getting every week will go some way to making up for it, I don’t think that’s the only reason he signed a new contract. After all, he would have got more to move to Arsenal.

No, I think Vardy knew how ‘anti-fairytale’ it would be to move on. Up until now it’s been a fantastic story:

“Non league player from beetroot factory rises through the leagues, breaks records and wins the Premier League with a club flirting with relegation just the year before”

But imagine adding: “then leaves for a bigger club who’ll pay him more money”. Not quite such a good story then, eh?

Vardy’s footballing fairytale is now cemented into football folklore, because what he’s done is show true loyalty to the club who made him what he is.

Let’s face it, when you look at Vardy’s stats from previous seasons, he hasn’t exactly set the world alight. But at Leicester, the stars have aligned, and with a combination of the right coaches, the right environment and the right tactics, Vardy has thrived.

And although plenty in football wouldn’t agree with me, Vardy owed Leicester. He owed them his loyalty, he owed them more service.

Otherwise, it would have been like that friend who’s with you when everything’s good, but when things get tough, he makes excuses and stops calling you. Leicester have helped Vardy have some great times, and he’s responsible to stick with them over what are sure to be much more challenging times.

It’s a rare story in modern football, but it’s definitely one that warms the cockles. I’m not a huge fan of Jamie Vardy myself, but I can do nothing but salute him here – he’s done the right thing.

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Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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