English Premiership

Austin, Vardy aim to cap fairytale rise

2015-06-05 10:14
Charlie Austin reacts after missing a penalty (Getty Images)

London - Charlie Austin and Jamie Vardy hope to complete their fairytale journeys from non-league obscurity to the global stage by making their England debuts over the next week.

Austin and Vardy were surprise inclusions in Roy Hodgson's squad for Sunday's friendly against the Republic of Ireland and the Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia a week later.

Their call-ups were a reward for impressive debut Premier League seasons, with former bricklayer Austin, just six years removed from playing for semi-professional Wessex League club Poole Town, netting 18 goals for QPR in their unsuccessful battle to avoid relegation.

Vardy, who scored in a win against Manchester United this season and has caught the eye with his unselfish running up front, also came from non-league football, rising from Stocksbridge Park Steels to Leicester via unglamourous stops at Halifax and Fleetwood.

"I didn't imagine this at all, but to be honest when I was at Fleetwood I wouldn't imagine I would sign for Leicester either," Vardy told reporters at England's training headquarters on Thursday.

"Every day I have had to pinch myself about where I've come from to where I am now.

"This is just the next step and it is even bigger, so I am constantly pinching myself.

"It is a massive opportunity. I never thought it would happen.

"I have just got to take it in my stride, show what I can do and if there is anything I need to learn then I will be learning it off the other players."

Austin's meteoric rise has come as a surprise to many, but not to one group of fans at his former club Poole, who put a bet on the striker scoring for his country when he was still an unheralded forward plying his trade in the backwaters of English football.

The syndicate stand to scoop 7,905 ($12,162) from the bet placed in 2010, with the majority of the winnings pledged to Poole FC.

"My dreams are coming true," Austin said. "Hard work is always the goal for people.

"People from the lower leagues are still dreaming they can make the step up to play professionally and then play for the national team.

"To be called up to the squad, I believe that people below us are looking at me and Jamie and see that it can be done."

The pair's arrival in Hodgson's squad at the same time has given them plenty to talk about and they have already struck up a rapport.

"We bounce off each other and speak," Austin said. "I don't know the full story from Jamie's background.

"I know we both came from non-league, I played in the south and Jamie played in the north. I think we played in similar kind of leagues.

"Me and Jamie coming here gives people the opportunity if they work as hard as they can and achieve their dreams."


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Sunday, 25 August 2019
AFC Bournemouth v Manchester City, Vitality Stadium 15:00
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Burnley, Molineux Stadium 17:30
Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 17:30
Saturday, 31 August 2019
Southampton v Manchester United, St. Mary's Stadium 13:30
Manchester City v Brighton & Hove Albion, Etihad Stadium 16:00
Leicester City v AFC Bournemouth, King Power Stadium 16:00
West Ham United v Norwich City, London Stadium 16:00
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa, Selhurst Park 16:00
Newcastle United v Watford, St. James' Park 16:00
Chelsea v Sheffield United, Stamford Bridge 16:00
Burnley v Liverpool, Turf Moor 18:30
Sunday, 01 September 2019
Everton v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Goodison Park 15:00
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur, Emirates Stadium 17:30
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

And the 2019/20 English Premiership champions will be ... ?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.