Jamie Vardy reveals 'death threats' for perceived role in Claudio Ranieri's exit
Jamie Vardy says he received death threats "walking down the street" and also alleged that his wife was the victim of a road-rage incident as a result of suggestions he was involved in a dressing-room revolt against Claudio Ranieri.
Vardy, currently on England duty ahead of this week's internationals against Germany and Lithuania, was reported to be one of a group of Leicester City players involved in a meeting with the club's owners hours before Ranieri was sacked in the wake of the Champions League round of 16 first-leg defeat against Sevilla.
But speaking on Monday to reporters at St George's Park, the Football Association's National Football Centre, the 30-year-old dismissed those claims as a "shambles" and revealed that he has borne the brunt of anger from fans in the aftermath of Ranieri's departure.
"The stories were quite hurtful to be honest with you," Vardy said. "A lot of false accusations were being thrown out there and there's nothing us, as players, could do about it.
"As soon as they were in the papers they were out there. We just had to put it to the back of our minds and concentrate on the football."
When asked what was the most hurtful allegation, Vardy shed light on the treatment he and his wife, Rebekah, have since been subjected to on social media and in public.
"The meeting that got him sacked. Absolute shambles," Vardy said. "I read one story that said it was straight after the Seville game. It said I was personally involved in a meeting when I was actually sat in anti-doping for three hours. A few of you [reporters] waited around for an interview after.
"Then, of course, the story is out there and people pick it up and jump on it and you're getting death threats -- about your family, kids, everything, on social media, you name it, walking down the street.
"To be honest, I get them every week. Football fans don't seem to like me that much. I get abuse at every stadium that I turn up at. To be honest, you are always going to get stick from fans. It is part and parcel of football.
"I just 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 is terrifying. People get cut up, but if there are no cameras, you're screwed."
Leicester's response since Ranieri's departure, which has seen the club win four successive games and qualify for the Champions League quarterfinals, has prompted suggestions that the players had stopped performing for the Italian.
But Vardy insisted that was not the case and also defended the team for their slow response in taking to social media to acknowledge Ranieri's exit -- Vardy's tweet and Instagram post came 47 hours after the club confirmed the manager's dismissal.
"I can understand what you are saying, but personally, my tweet was going out straightaway, but I wrote it that many times, I couldn't quite get the wording right," he said. "You don't know what to say.
"It was 24 hours [Vardy posted his tweet at 7.36 p.m. on the Saturday after Ranieri's departure] before I did it, but we had just got back from Seville.
"We were delayed, landed, then went straight back 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 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.
"Was there a problem with him? 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 went and did it on the tactics board, because he was happy for you to come in and put your opinion across."
Vardy, meanwhile, insists he had no regrets about rejecting a summer move to Arsenal during the most difficult days of this season, when he lost his starting spot at Leicester as the team slid towards the relegation zone.
"If I'd played like I had been doing, I would have been in the same situation there [at Arsenal], so no," he said. "No, not at all.
"It was hard [for the team]. Things weren't going our way and you have to keep working hard to get yourself out of that dip.
"But we have gone back to basics -- what we know best -- and luckily we have turned it around and got a few victories.
"We were still trying to do what we did last year, it just wasn't working. The more you keep working at it and don't try and change to make it happen -- just keep focusing on what's best for the team -- nine times out of 10 it does turn round and the good times come back."
Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_