Leicester City host Manchester United on the final day of the Premier League season, aiming to bring Champions League football back to the King Power Stadium. It is a game for which the players need no extra motivation, but for Jamie Vardy, there is an added incentive.
The Foxes’ talisman will be aiming to add to his 23 league goals and win the Golden Boot award. Doing so would add another milestone to a career packed full of them. It is time we recognized Vardy as a true Premier League great.
Why Jamie Vardy Deserves More Respect
Conquering the Football League Pyramid
First and foremost, Vardy has had to do it all the hard way. Released by Sheffield Wednesday aged 17, the striker began his senior career with Stocksbridge Park Steels. He remained with the club from 2007 until 2010.
At the start of the 2010s, Vardy was playing in the Northern Premier League with FC Halifax Town. After a stellar debut season – in which he scored 25 goals – he moved to Conference club Fleetwood Town in 2011.
The goals continued to flow for Vardy in his Fleetwood days. He netted 31 in his first season, earning him a move to Leicester City in May 2012 for a record fee of £1 million paid for a player in non-league football.
Winning the Championship title with the Foxes in 2014 paved the way for Vardy to create more history in the Premier League.
Breaking Goalscoring Records
Vardy only scored five goals in that 2014/15 season as Leicester narrowly avoided immediate relegation under Nigel Pearson. But the Foxes’ chief marksman would go on to truly shine the following campaign.
In the 2015/16 season, Vardy plundered 24 league goals, his best tally to date. Of those 24 goals, 13 were netted in 11 consecutive games from late August to late November 2015. This scoring streak gave Vardy a record previously held by Ruud van Nistelrooy for most consecutive matches in which a player has scored in the Premier League.
Not bad for a striker who was scoring his goals in the Conference four years beforehand.
Winning the Premier League
Of course, that 2015/16 season was special for Vardy in a whole host of other ways too. He received his first England call-up that August, the day after scoring the goal that kicked-off his record-breaking run.
And, come the end of that season, he was a Premier League winner. Receiving a winner’s medal alone elevated Vardy above a host of other great names to have played in the Premier League.
For Vardy, winning the Premier League and scoring 24 league goals in the season he did it is incredibly special.
Joining the 100 club
Fast forward four years and the accolades continue to arrive for Vardy.
Yes, he stands on the cusp of claiming the Golden Boot. But this season is already historic for him thanks to the brace he netted against Crystal Palace earlier this month.
Those goals made Vardy only the 29th player to break into the Premier League’s illustrious ‘100 Club’.
He was not even playing in the competition until he was 27-years-old.
For Vardy to have racked up a century of top-flight strikes with his mid-twenties already behind him is a formidable feat. The fact he defied all the odds to break records and win the title along the way makes him all the more remarkable.
The numbers speak for themselves. Jamie Vardy is more than a great Premier League player. He is one of the Premier League greats.