• England striker says his family have been targeted
• He insists players had no problem with Italian former manager
Jamie Vardy has claimed he received death threats because of his alleged involvement in the dressing-room mutiny that undermined Claudio Ranieri and said the backlash against the players who won the Premier League title with Leicester City last season has led to his family suffering a number of “terrifying” ordeals.
Vardy denied he had been responsible in any way for Ranieri’s sacking but admitted the incident had crystallised the impression of him as someone “football fans don’t seem to like”. He said the repercussions had also threatened his family’s safety, featuring a number of alleged road-rage incidents involving his wife, Rebekah, as the victim.
“The story is out there, then people pick it up and jump on it and you’re getting death threats about your family, kids, everything,” Vardy said. “I try to get on with it but when people are trying to cut your missus up while she’s driving along with the kids in the back of the car it’s not the best. It’s happened plenty of times. It is terrifying.”
Vardy said the threats had been made “on social media, walking down the street, you name it” and insisted he was wrongly named as one of the players who allegedly turned against the manager who won the first league championship in Leicester’s history.
He went as far as to say he was not aware of a problem between any players and their former manager. “No, not at all. Basically if there was an issue you went and did it in the gaffer’s office, man to man. Or you did it on the tactics board because he was happy for you to come in and put your opinion across.
“Apparently the meeting that got him sacked I read one story that said it was straight after the Sevilla game. Absolute shambles. It said I was personally involved in a meeting when I was actually sat in anti-doping for three hours. The stories were quite hurtful. A lot of false accusations were being thrown out there and there’s nothing us, as players, could do about it.”
Vardy, preparing to lead England’s attack in their friendly against Germany in Dortmund on Wednesday, admitted it looked strange that Leicester’s players did not express any support for Ranieri on their social media accounts until they started receiving criticism for their collective silence.
Ranieri was sacked after arriving back in England from Leicester’s Champions League last-16 first leg against Sevilla and Vardy, for example, took 48 hours – from Thursday to Saturday evening – before posting his reaction, citing one of the reasons being that he had to bath his children.
“I can understand what you are saying but, personally, my tweet was [meant to be] going out straightaway, but I wrote it that many times I couldn’t quite get the wording right. You don’t know what to say. It was 24 hours before I did it but we had just got back from Seville. We were delayed, landed, then went straight home, kids in the bath and straight to bed myself.
“It’s hard. Don’t get me wrong, what he did for Leicester was unbelievable and nobody would have expected that [title] in a million years. We can only thank him for that. The way this season has gone, players never seem to be the ones who get the sack. It always falls on the manager and that is what has happened. We are all sincerely gutted that it did.”
A year since the first publicity about his life story being turned into a film, Vardy admitted he had not heard any updates and did not know if it was still going ahead. “You tell me,” he said.
Leicester have won all four of their matches and qualified for the quarter-finals of the Champions League since Ranieri left, with the former assistant manager, Craig Shakespeare, in charge until the end of the season.
The episode, according to Vardy, has been bad for his reputation. “I get abuse at every stadium that I turn up at. You are always going to get stick from fans. It is part and parcel of football. I’m one that carries on and winds them up a bit. Do I enjoy it? Yeah, it’s just me. I couldn’t tell you why I get it, but it’s part of the game. I am not really fussed about it. It’s fine by me.”
Vardy also explained why he had not chosen to report the death threats or road-rage incidents to the police. “All that can happen is they get banned on Twitter,” he said. “People get cut up but if there’s no cameras you’re screwed.”