Bagshot – England scrumhalf 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
“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 – wings or up front. Little
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.”