Ranieri: Vardy ‘has to be free’

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has backed Jamie Vardy to have a big impact for the England team, but only if he is deployed in his favoured position up front.

The 28-year-old striker is currently in a rich vein of form, having found the net in eight consecutive games to help his side make a flying start to the Premier League campaign.

In fact, the Sheffield-born finisher currently tops the Premier League top scorers chart with 11 goals to his name, with his nearest competitors Odion Ighalo of Watford and teammate Riyad Mahrez tied on seven.

However, despite his heroics for the Foxes this term, Vardy is unlikely to play up front for England in the upcoming friendlies against Spain and France as Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane are Three Lions manager Roy Hodgson's preferred choice to lead the line.

When quizzed on where he felt Vardy would be the most effective for England, Ranieri told reporters: "It is difficult because I am not Roy.

"He knows his team very well, he tries to put the best players in his squad.

"In my opinion Jamie has to be free. When he is free, he is amazing. We play with two strikers, not one, and I am not Roy.

"I respect him but for me, [Vardy] plays as a free forward."

Next up for Vardy and Leicester is a clash with newly-promoted Watford at King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Foxes go into the clash flying high in third place, while Watford find themselves sitting in 11th place.