Steve Guppy: "One of the first things Martin O'Neill got me to do was to find out if Vardy was Irish"

Ireland coach and ex-Leicester winger chats to Off The Ball

Jamie Vardy, England, ireland

England's Jamie Vardy against Ireland ©INPHO/Gary Carr

Former Leicester City winger Steve Guppy says the Boys in Green made some enquiries to check if Jamie Vardy was eligible for Ireland.

One-time England cap, Guppy, played for the Foxes across two spells in the late '90s under Ireland manager Martin O'Neill and then in 2004, still lives in the area and has a strong affinity with a club which has caused shockwaves by winning the Premier League. 

But since 2014, Guppy has been part of O'Neill's Republic of Ireland national team staff and he was tasked with one role very early on.

"I will say this. One of the first things Martin O'Neill got me to do when I got the job was to find out if Vardy was Irish or not and sadly his grandparents were not," said Guppy on Off The Ball, adding that it came about before England showed interest in the striker who is odds on to go to Euro 2016.

Guppy also praised the work done by previous Leicester manager Nigel Pearson who helped pave the way for Ranieri to propel the team forward.

Steve Guppy, manager Martin O'Neill and assistant manager Roy Keane ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

"Take nothing away from what Claudio Ranieri has achieved because he's come in and his story in itself is amazing where he's recognised that actually this is a very good team that he's taken over and he used all his experience to keep the pressure off them as it started to grow. He handled it excellently and maybe he gave them a bit more licence to express themselves, a bit more freedom on the pitch. But for what they've achieved, the players must have driven this as well. Creating a hard-working culture within a group is not easy.

Guppy also felt the form, or lack of it, of the big teams created a "perfect storm" for Leicester and Tottenham to take advantage of and praised the defence-first mentality of the back-four.

BBC Radio Leicester commentator Jason Bourne also joined Off The Ball to share the reaction from a city dealing with a surreal achievement.

"We're a one-club city when it comes to football so everybody that's interested in football focuses on that particular team. So when there's success for that team, everyone feels that sense of pride and joy over the situation," he said.