Roy Hodgson has named his England squad for the upcoming internationals with the Republic of Ireland and Slovenia, and Leicester City‘s Jamie Vardy has caused quite a stir as he has been included for the first time in his career.
Vardy has never represented England at national level and was with League One side Fleetwood Town just three years ago.
It’s an incredible journey for the 28-year-old attacker and caps off a fine few months after helping Leicester to retain their top flight status, but was his call-up justified?
Harry Kane’s involvement with the England Under 21’s and Daniel Sturridge’s injury means Hodgson had to look for attacking alternatives, with Vardy and QPR’s Charlie Austin both selected.
Austin’s inclusion is difficult to argue against as he has been sensational for the R’s this year, scoring 17 times in the league, but there were perhaps some better options than Jamie Vardy for Hodgson to consider.
The table above looks at five fellow Premier League players that play a similar position to Vardy that Hodgson could have selected instead.
Manchester United’s Ashley Young has been in fine form of late, netting one with four assists in his last six outings, and he has created the same number of chances as Vardy in less appearances this term.
While Crystal Palace duo Wilfried Zaha and Jason Puncheon have both been just as effective in front of goal, with Puncheon netting two more than the Leicester man.
Puncheon has contributed the same number of goals per game on average over the course of the campaign as Vardy and is perhaps unlucky not to have been called up.
While West Ham’s Stewart Downing will feel even more disappointed not to have been rewarded for his fine season.
Downing has created more than twice the number of chances as Vardy, and has more than three times the number of key passes to his name.
The most concerning statistic as far as Vardy is concerned is that he boasts a pass completion percentage of just 64%, worse than any of the above players compared.