Care inspired by former teammate Vardy in Grand Slam bid

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Danny Care hopes both he and fellow former Sheffield Wednesday academy prospect Jamie Vardy will have silverware to celebrate as England chase the Grand Slam and Leicester City continue their charge at the top of the Premier League.

Care, 29, joined the Owls' academy as an 11-year-old and played through to Under-15 level in the same side as Vardy.

It was at this stage, in 2002, that Care opted to pursue a career in rugby while Vardy stayed at the academy only to be released when he hit 16 as they deemed him too small for professional football.

Now 13 years on and both are key players for their country with career-defining moments awaiting them. Care starts in their Grand Slam decider against France while Vardy is set to spearhead England's charge at Euro 2016 after a remarkable season that currently sees him as the Premier League's joint top goal scorer.

Although Care and Vardy's careers have gone down two different paths, the two have kept in touch and have exchanged good luck messages.

"Every now and then we have a little chat," Care said of Vardy. "It's pretty amazing his story, how he's getting on. He was a similar player to what he is now. Very feisty, wanted the ball at his feet, very quick, liked to score goals. I'd like to say I taught him everything he knows but no, I definitely didn't.

"Leicester are flying. It's an unbelievable story. They deserve everything they're getting at the moment. I think they've done enough; well, they will have in the next few weeks.

"It's good for him. Hopefully we can celebrate something of our own."

While Care will be spurred on by Vardy's remarkable season, England have taken inspiration from Leicester's remarkable performance in the Premier League as they bid to win their first Grand Slam since 2003.

Eddie Jones is not averse to comparing aspects of rugby to other sports. Just this week he said England must adopt a 'Bodyline' approach for their summer tour to Australia -- a reference to the 1932-33 England tour of Australia where the visiting captain Douglas Jardine used fast-bowlers to intimidate the Australian batsmen.

He has also compared Ireland's style of rugby to tactics once employed by Stoke City. And Leicester's feats have also been on their radar as England prepare for Saturday's Grand Slam match in Paris.

"You look at things in sport," Care said. "You look at their team, the way football is, the money, the top four, the big four whatever, and Leicester have just come and blown them away. It shows that a bit of team spirit and a couple of fantastic players in and around some very good squad players, shows that if you're playing well and for a good club you get the rewards.

"You look at other sports for inspiration and it would be amazing if they can do it. They're not there yet. Hopefully they will get it done."

Care knows the heartbreak of sport only too well having played in that infamous 2013 match against Wales. England travelled to Cardiff hoping to complete a Grand Slam but were on the wrong end of a thrashing which saw the Six Nations title snatched from their grasp on the final day of the tournament.

Heading to Paris, Care has been charged with playing a quick-tempo match by Jones and on a personal level, he will be working hard to ensure there are no repeats of the setback he and the team received in 2013.

"It was a horrible day to be involved in," Care added. "We let them get a couple of tries and the momentum was all with them.

"The bench came on and we tried to change it up but it didn't go well. That was then, it's a different team now, we are three years down the line and it's a whole new squad and a different era. We're positive it won't happen again."