Fleetwood Town chairman Andy Pilley is flushed with pride to see former star Jamie Vardy named in Roy Hodgson’s England squad to face Ireland and Slovenia
The 28-year-old scored 31 goals in 36 appearances for Town- playing a key role in their promotion to the Football League.
He was sold to Leicester City for a non-league record £1m fee and has since enjoyed promotion to the Premier League with the Foxes.
His form in recent months has helped City in their bid to secure top flight survival and caught the attention of Hodgson - who is without man of the moment Harry Kane , the Spurs man joining up with the Under-21 squad as they bid to become European champions.
Pilley said: “I’m delighted for Jamie.
“It’s been a magical journey for him and we’ve played our part.
“To be playing in non-league and then be named in the England squad is an extraordinary achievement.”
Vardy might never have got his shot at fame had Town not come calling - a £140,000 deal taking him to Highbury from Halifax.
“It was a calculated gamble,” said Pilley.
“We were brave, we listened to the scouts, we trusted their reputations and we agreed to pay the money.
“Look how it ended up.”
Vardy’s £1m fee was not only a Conference record but was the one of the last sum received for a player departing Highbury.
Pilley aims to change that – looking to Vardy as an example of what can be achieved if the club invests in rising talent.
“We think Fleetwood is an attractive club for players who want to come and make their name,” said the chairman.
“We’ve got a new training complex, which cost £6.5m, coming on stream and that can only help us develop new talent – that’s the direction we’re going in.
“Jamie Vardy is an excellent example of what Fleetwood Town can achieve.”
Town boss Graham Alexander arrived at Highbury after Vardy (above) had departed for Leicester.
But he knows only too well the impact the striker had during his short spell at the club.
“I didn’t know Jamie, I’ve never met him,” said the Town boss.
“But I do know the part he’s played in the history of this club.
“To have a former player called into the England squad is a great source of pride for the club.
“I’m sure everyone who new Jamie will be proud and Fleetwood will be proud for the part they have played.”