​First of all, let's address the elephant in the room, Jamie Vardy has retired from international duty. He did so in order to focus on his club duties and 'rest up and keep the legs fresh'.


But at present, England are staring down the barrel of a Harry Kane-less European Championships and an internationally untested Tammy Abraham leading the line. Marcus Rashford has been touted as playing the striker role for the Three Lions, but injuries aside, his best season in a Manchester United shirt has come as a result of playing on the left.

So, what does Gareth Southgate do? Well, the answer is simple: beg, borrow or steal in order to get ​Vardy to overturn his decision.


Perhaps not as much against Burnley - although successfully against everyone else this season - Vardy and James Maddison have struck up a partnership that is telepathic in its connection, and exciting in its style.


The pair work so well in tandem, knowing where each other are on the pitch at any given time and looking better individually when both on the pitch,


With such blistering pace, the runs Vardy makes in between the centre-half and the full-back are well timed and intelligent. However, possessing such speed means the pass into him needs to be hit perfectly and at just the right time - something Maddison does with ease.

For all the umpteen right-backs Southgate has in his squad, where England really lack is in attacking midfield. Sure, Maddison has not had an extended run in the national side, but on current form there is nobody more suited to fill that role than him. Dele Alli looks a shadow of his former self, Ross Barkley has underwhelmed, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain doesn't play regularly enough and Mason Mount's form has dropped from his fine start to the season.


Jack Grealish has been mentioned given his impressive campaign for a struggling Aston Villa, but he doesn't boast the dynamic link with Vardy that Maddison does.


Harvey Barnes' fine opening goal against the ​Clarets will naturally garner the youngster plenty of praise, but it was work by Maddison in midfield and the clever running of Vardy in attack that presented Barnes with the opportunity and opened the space for him to score.


Those two on the pitch together make others better.

James Maddison

Whereas Vardy is lethal in front of goal and you know exactly what you're going to get with him, Maddison has an air of unpredictability about him. Whether it's having a pop at goal from 25-30 yards or a reverse pass into the box, the only person who knows what he's going to do is, yes, Vardy.


Sure, the game at Turf Moor didn't showcase either player in their best light. Firstly, Maddison wasn't as effective as usual for ​Leicester, often coming out second best to some hefty Burnley challenges, but it's what he's done throughout the season which warrants the above claim.


As for Vardy...well, yeah, a missed penalty isn't exactly going to heighten claims for him to come out of retirement this summer. But forget Turf Moor, forget Sunday, these two are inseparable on a football pitch.

Maddison is a better player when he plays with Vardy, and to truly unlock his full potential for England then the 33-year-old needs to line up alongside him. 


These two come as a package. Play Maddison then you have to play Vardy. Of course, even if Gareth is bursting to make this duo become a reality, he needs to convince the Leicester top-scorer to follow suit – which itself is another matter entirely.