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Vardy concerned VAR use impacts fan experience inside stadium

Italy’s equaliser against England at Wembley was down to official Deniz Aytekin reviewing footage of an incident.

England striker Jamie Vardy has reservations over the use of VAR in its present form, suggesting it harms the experience inside the stadium.

Vardy’s seventh international strike had put England on course for victory in Tuesday’s friendly against Italy until debutant James Tarkowski made unwanted Wembley history.

The Burnley man’s tussle with Federico Chiesa in the box initially went unpunished but led to the equalising penalty after German official Deniz Aytekin ran to the side of the field to review the footage.

Debate over the decision proved that the mere application of technology will not rob football of its controversial moments, but Vardy was more concerned about the confusion it caused on the pitch and in the stands.

“That’s the worst thing about it, not just for players but for fans as well,” he said.

“It just says ‘VAR in use’. If you’re on the pitch you’re just standing there not knowing what’s going on and in the crowd you’re just sat there waiting.

“I know they use it in other sports where it’s actually up on a big screen so that everyone can see what the video ref is looking at.

“At the minute we’re just standing there waiting for the ref.”

As a player who thrives on the thrill of putting the ball in the net, the Leicester forward is also mindful about retaining the joy of that moment.

Cricket has overcome similar issues – bowlers typically celebrate wickets with the usual gusto despite the prospect of batsmen reviewing the dismissal – but Vardy is still concerned.

“We had one in the FA Cup against Fleetwood where Kelechi Iheanacho scored,” he explained.

“The ref’s gone to VAR so he’s not had a chance to celebrate with his team-mates.

“At the end (of the process) he’s like a schoolkid running around saying ‘we’ve scored, let’s go and celebrate’.

“It’s got a lot of work that needs doing to it. Hopefully it will be spot on at the World Cup.”

Vardy is among those who can be assured of his place in Gareth Southgate’s squad in Russia.

A fit Harry Kane is near untouchable in the centre forward role but as a stand-in or impact substitute, Vardy’s pace and poacher’s instinct could yet prove important.

He also showed a neat sense of timing to end a year-long drought in the final game before the squad is finalised.

“To be honest with you I didn’t realise it had been that long,” he said.

“Every time I put the shirt on it’s an honour and I’ll always give 110 per cent whenever I put it on.

“People are going to doubt you…let them carry on doing it. I’ve always answered the questions up to now, so I look forward to it.

“We’ll have to wait and see what the gaffer’s got planned.”


From Belfast Telegraph