Jamie Vardy used to drink alcohol every day and turned up for training still drunk, according to Leicester City’s vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha.
Vardy was on Monday named the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year, hours before Leicester were confirmed as Premier League champions following Tottenham’s failure to beat Chelsea.
It completed an incredible rise for Vardy, who was still playing in non-league in 2012 when the Foxes paid £1million to sign him from Fleetwood.
According to Srivaddhanaprabha, it was a move the striker initially struggled to cope with.
“He went straight from the bottom to the Championship, which eventually led him to start drinking booze every single day. We had no idea what to do,” Srivaddhanaprabha told Thailand’s a day magazine.
“I didn’t even know about this until someone told me that he came to train while he was still drunk.
“So I went to talk to him myself, I asked ‘do you wish to end your career like this? Do you want to stay here like this? We’ll let your contract run out then release you. Don’t expect a better career path.’
“He said he didn’t know what to do with his life. He’d never earned such a large amount of money. So I asked him ‘What’s your dream? How do you think your life should be? Just think carefully about what would you do for the club. I invested in you, do you have something in return?’
“After that he simply quit drinking and started working hard in training. His physicality wasn’t as good as it is now.
“We know he had explosive acceleration, but we simply had no idea he could be this good.
“He’s adapting, working on fitness training, he’s turned into a new person. And that’s better.”