Belfast Telegraph

Arsenal target Jamie Vardy is told to focus on England

By Mark Ogden

Jamie Vardy will be warned to focus solely on England's Euro 2016 campaign and shelve talks over a potential £20m move to Arsenal with Roy Hodgson maintaining his stance of refusing to allow player representatives into the team's hotel base in France.

Leicester City forward Vardy checked into England's Chantilly hotel yesterday afternoon after failing to resolve his future before boarding the flight to Paris.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has made his move for Vardy, who scored 24 Premier League goals in Leicester's title-winning campaign, after triggering the 29-year-old's escape clause in his contract at the King Power Stadium.

With Leicester determined to hold onto their leading goalscorer, Vardy has left Arsenal waiting on a decision as he considers his options, with the former Fleetwood Town forward torn between moving to the Emirates and displaying loyalty to the club which handed him the opportunity to perform at the top level.

Hodgson has already given Vardy time out of England's preparation to attend his own wedding two weeks ago.

The England manager informed his squad that agents would not be allowed to visit the team hotel following the friendly victory against Australia at The Stadium of Light on May 27.

And with England due to face Russia in Marseille in their Group B opener on Saturday, Hodgson has made it clear that members of his squad must now be fully focused on playing for their country.

"Whether they (agents) come to the hotel or not is a moot point," Hodgson said. "They will be talking to the players face to face, on the phone or via Skype or Facebook, who knows?

"But one thing this group of players know and have accepted is that when you are on England duty, you are on England duty.

"It is not a question of you sorting out your future, or diving off for medicals.

"We control all of that and you have to accept there is a good chance that, if you say you want to go for a medical, that we will say 'we are not allowing that and you better bring your people here'.

"We are not trying to block players' futures or transfers, but as far as we are concerned our ongoing theme is that England is England, your club is your club. While you are with England, we want you to stay focused on us."

England arrived at Le Bourget Airport yesterday afternoon, with the northern-based players boarding at Manchester before stopping at Luton to collect the rest of the party and flying onto Paris.

Quite a fanfare welcomed the team coach after making the 20-mile journey to their training base in Chantilly, with horses leading the security-flanked team coach up to the Auberge du Jeu de Paume hotel.

The riders, donning ceremonial costume, were from the nearby Museum of the Horse, while hunting horns sounded as the coaching staff and players made their way off the coach.

Hotel staff, the mayor of Chantilly and representatives of local club US Chantilly, where England will be training during Euro 2016, were among those greeting the squad, with gifts exchanged.

Mayor Eric Woerth presented Hodgson and captain Wayne Rooney with commemorative medals from the city, while the FA reciprocated with an inscribed crystal vase.

A large media presence and smattering of locals were also in attendance when the team arrived, with a short behind-closed-doors training session held later in the afternoon.

Belfast Telegraph