Leicester City star Vardy's heroics inspire England scrum-half Care


Bagshot (United Kingdom) (AFP)

England scrum-half Danny Care hopes both he and old friend turned Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy will have a title to celebrate this year.

Care has already helped England secure the Six Nations crown but the Harlequins No 9, back in Eddie Jones's starting side, is now looking forward to the prospect of helping the team complete a Grand Slam with victory over France in Paris on Saturday.

But before rugby union claimed him, Care was a promising schoolboy footballer and played with Vardy at the youth academy of English second-tier club Sheffield Wednesday.

Vardy's 19 goals this term have been vital to a stunning push by Leicester, who were 5,000/1 in pre-season to be crowned champions of England, that has left the Midlands club five points clear at the top of the Premier League with just eight games remaining.

"Every now and then we have a little chat," said Care at England's Bagshot training base on Thursday.

"It's pretty amazing his story, how he's getting on. It's good for him. Hopefully we can celebrate something of our own.

"He was my understudy at Wednesday! No, he was a similar player to what he is now. Very feisty, wanted the ball at his feet, very quick, liked to score goals.

"I'd like to say I taught him everything he knows but no, I definitely didn't. He's played unbelievably and he's deserving everything. We were both similar -- wingers or up front. Little fast kids."

As for the prospect of both England winning a Grand Slam and Leicester taking the Premier League this year, Care said: "It would be nice. Obviously Leicester are flying. It's an unbelievable story. They deserve everything they're getting at the moment.

"You look at Leicester's team and the way football is - the money, the big four clubs -- and Leicester have just come and blown them away.

"It shows that a bit of team spirit and a couple of fantastic players in and around some very good squad players can get you the rewards.

"You look at other sports for inspiration and it would be amazing if Leicester can do it. They're not there yet. Hopefully they will get it done."

It is 13 years since England completed a Grand Slam when a team captained by Martin Johnson enjoyed a clean sweep of Europe's elite just a few months before they won the 2003 World Cup.

"For us to win a Grand Slam would obviously be massive," said Care. "No-one has done it in this squad and it hasn't been done by England for a long time.

"A handful of us have won a Six Nations, but this is the one we really want. And we're going to Paris to try and get it."