Vardy - Fantastic Mr Fox

reuters

Joel Richards

For a footballer heading into the twilight of his career, Jamie Vardy is not your average elder statesman. 

At 33 years old, many players begin to be phased out and can expect little more than cameo roles. Vardy however, doesn’t conform to such stereotypes.

After all, this is a player who only made his top-flight debut six years ago aged 27 and has made up for lost time ever since. Vardy’s rapid rise is well documented having begun his career in the non-league with Stocksbridge Park Steels and Halifax Town.

But it was with Fleetwood Town where Vardy caught the attention of a Leicester City side who were a Championship club back then who yearned for a return to the big time. In 2012, the Foxes signed Vardy for £1 million and from there neither have looked back.

Together, the player and club have reached meteoric heights. A great escape in 2014-15 was followed by an even bigger miracle as Leicester shocked the world to win the Premier League title a year later. 

Central to their incredible achievements was Vardy, who broke records of his own in that unforgettable campaign to lead Leicester to glory. The Foxes’ frontman scored in 11 consecutive Premier League games to break Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of 10 and fire Leicester to the top of the table with 24 goals overall.

Despite managerial changes and a reverse in fortunes since Vardy has posted double figures in five consecutive campaigns. But the arrival of Brendan Rodgers to the King Power Stadium last February truly reinvigorated Leicester’s No.9.

Indeed, since the Northern Irishman was appointed Vardy has scored more Premier League goals than any other player (28) and he began 2019-20 in clinical fashion. Vardy helped propel Leicester towards the top of the table again, the highlight of which undoubtedly came at St Mary’s in October as a hat-trick contributed towards a 9-0 rout of Southampton.

However, after Vardy gave Leicester the lead away to Manchester City in December, the goals dried up. He would remain on 17 goals during a bleak winter for him and Leicester, whose impressive form nosedived after consecutive defeats to City and Liverpool.

In total, Vardy would go seven games without a goal while Rodgers’ side would win only one of their seven games in 2020 to erode what was a healthy lead in the race for Champions League qualification.

A Monday night meeting with struggling Aston Villa on 9 March offered the perfect chance to regain confidence, which Vardy and Leicester took with both hands. A double in a comfortable 4-0 win felt like the perfect kick-start ahead of the season’s run-in. 

However, just as Vardy rediscovered his mojo the suspension of the Premier League season curtailed any chance for the forward to further momentum. Even more, agonisingly for Vardy, the current hiatus has ensured he remains on 99 Premier League goals; his chance to enter the Premier League 100 club will have to wait a little while longer yet.

Despite the long drought, Vardy remains top of the scoring charts and his 19 goals have left him two clear of nearest challenger Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Few would back against Vardy if he were to pick up where he left off.

Who said 30-somethings can’t remain at the top?


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