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Jamie Vardy is a major source of inspiration for emerging footballers. (Image Credit: Twitter)
English Premier League Football Latest Opinion

Jamie Vardy: From nowhere to becoming the oldest Golden Boot winner

Jamie Vardy is a major source of inspiration for emerging footballers. (Image Credit: Twitter)
Jamie Vardy is a major source of inspiration for emerging footballers. (Image Credit: Twitter)

The best present I’ve ever given someone is myself. I’ve given it to everyone: Jamie Vardy.

A decade ago, no one had heard of Jamie Vardy. Now, he is on everyone’s lips. Vardy is the most prolific striker in the Premier League currently, winning the Golden Boot recently at the age of 33. The Sheffield-born attacker further scripted history, by becoming the oldest recipient of the award, surpassing none other than Chelsea legend Didier Drogba.

“Fitness has always been one of my strengths. I can do all the long-distance runs. When I was at school and we entered the competitions, I used to do the 100m, 200m, and the 1500m as well, so it’s never just been a pace thing.” said Vardy.

The English attacker’s exploits have further resulted in comparisons to maverick Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Both players share the same hunger to excel in front of goal despite being well in their 30s. They further play a crucial role in determining the success of their respective clubs.

This similarity extends well into their mentality, as evident from Zlatan’s statement when asked to reveal the gift purchased for his wife’s birthday. “Nothing, she already has Zlatan.”

While some may label such an attitude as bordering on narcissism, what cannot be denied is the supreme hard work and dedication which Vardy has ensured through thick and thin.

Vardy the Messiah for Leicester City:

It will certainly be valid to label Leicester City as the “Jamie Vardy team”, if we go by their contrasting fortunes based on the Englishman having a good or bad day.

After blanking in the first two games of the 2019/20 season, Vardy went on a roll. The 33-year-old scored in seven consecutive games, with Leicester winning them all. Vardy further followed it up with a hat-trick in a record 9-0 away win against Southampton, with the Foxes trailing league leaders Liverpool closely.

The striker’s sublime partnership with midfielder James Maddison drew comparisons to the exquisite chemistry shared with Riyad Mahrez. Not only this, the Englishman’s consistency following some delicious passes from Maddison, further led to Vardy being on course to eclipsing his own Premier League record of scoring in 11 consecutive games.

The secret to the English striker’s success is his ability to find space between the central defenders, going on to beat them with pace. Maddison and Harvey Barnes were the men entrusted to deliver pin point passes and long balls, which he converted effectively. Barnes was involved in 14 goals for Leicester City, second only to Jamie Vardy.

At the same time, the 33-year-old never used underhand tactics like diving to earn penalties, despite the likes of Danny Ings breathing down his neck.This was evident during a one-on-one against David de Gea in a clash against Manchester United, where he did not go down despite clear contact.

“Vardy makes bad passes look brilliant. When you have a player like that, he’s a dream to play with. You hit balls and clearances and he makes something of them, he turns them into good balls because he chases everything down and never gives up,” said goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel.

Decline in form:

Sadly, it all went downhill after football resumed following the pandemic. Leicester were virtually guaranteed a 3rd place finish, following a gap of 14 points over rivals Manchester United and Chelsea. However, with Maddison and Ayoze Perez injured, Rodgers struggled to find another avenue capable of supporting Vardy, with the striker’s form drooping.

The Englishman took three games to open his account, as his scored a brace against Crystal Palace with the Foxes registering their first-triumph post restart. This dry run further extended in the last nine games, as he scored just four goals leaving Leicester City badly hit by the lack of consistent goals relegating them to a shocking Europa League finish.

As Vardy prepares for the upcoming season of the Premier League, what cannot be denied is the fire in his belly that pushes the English striker to battle it out till the last second. The maiden Golden Boot will only spur the attacker on, as he looks to make up for the lost time playing in lower leagues.

Having scored his 100th Premier League goal during the brace against Crystal Palace, one wouldn’t bet against Vardy scoring a ton more before hanging up his boots.


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