Germany coach Joachim Low is wary of “dangerous” England striker Jamie Vardy after being impressed by the Leicester City forward’s performances ahead of Saturday’s friendly international against Roy Hodgson’s men.
The 29-year-old Vardy is set to face world champions Germany at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium after his 19 goals have helped Leicester top the English Premier League table with only eight games of the season to go.
Vardy played for Stockbridge Park Steels, who play in England’s eighth tier, up until 2010 after being released by Sheffield Wednesday.
He moved up the English league system with spells at Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town before joining Leicester in 2012.
Vardy made his England debut last year then played as captain Wayne Rooney’s understudy during England’s flawless 10 wins from 10 qualifying matches for Euro 2016.
With Rooney injured, Vardy could well face the Germans and his performances for Leicester have certainly hit Low’s radar. “I think it’s spectacular how well he plays,” Low said yesterday. “He’s quick and he has an unbelievable eye for goal, he’s always looking to score.
“Containing him will be a task for our defence. We have already looked at the way he plays and he always plays from deep.
“I don’t know of many players who like to find the space as much as he does and likes to go exactly where it hurts defenders the most.”
Up front for Germany, Low said Besiktas striker Mario Gomez will start against England.
World Cup winner Mario Goetze, who has found himself on the bench at Bayern Munich this season, will start against Italy in Munich on Tuesday, but will also find himself amongst the reserves for his country -- at least against England.
“He [Goetze] won’t play from the beginning against England,” Low said. “He will definitely play from the start against Italy.”
Loew says the 23 year old must talk to Carlo Ancelotti, Pep Guardiola’s replacement as Bayern’s coach next season, to decide where his future lies.
“He should talk to him [Ancelotti] about the situation,” Loew said. “I had a long conversation with him about the situation at Bayern and he knows he has to improve.
“I hope that he will also be used during the important phase of this season for Bayern.”
With a crowd of around 72,000 expected, Low trusts in the security forces, who are on a high state of alert in Berlin after the Brussels terror attacks on Tuesday.
“The topic has been all over the news. We do feel safe – it’s not just about football, but our entire lives in Europe,” Low said. “We all want to enjoy the game and I hope everything will be fine.
“This will be a prestigious game and I want to try new things out, either from the start or during the game.
“The result isn’t that important, but these two games are our last before we choose the squad [for Euro 2016].”
Chelsea defender Gary Cahill will captain England in today’s match. The 30-year-old centre-back was confirmed as captain on England’s official Twitter account in the absence of Rooney.
This will be just the second time Cahill has worn the England captain’s armband from the outset, having first done so in October’s Euro 2016 qualifier at home to Estonia.
A positive omen for Cahill and his England teammates is that it is 29 years since the English last lost an international match on German soil.
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