When Ruud van Nistelrooy scored at St. James Park in 2003 to become the first player in the Premier League to score in 10 consecutive matches, in that same year 16 year old Jamie Vardy was released from his boyhood club Sheffield Wednesday for being too short. It was such a shock for the teenager that he decided to leave football and didn’t play the game for the next eight months. Instead he went to work in a carbon fiber factory until he was persuaded back to play in the Northern Premier League for Stocksbridge Steels for £30 a game after an impressive display against them for the Wickersley Youth. 12 years later at the very same St. James Park, Jamie Vardy equals Nistelrooy’s record whilst becoming the first person to score in 10 consecutive Premier League matches in a season.
Life has not been that easy for Jamie Vardy at all. By his own admission, he was a bad boy when he was younger and he had to learn it all the hard way. But, at present, Jamie Vardy is the living proof for the thousands of footballers who play in non-League that their dreams can be made real. After being given a real boost to revive his career, Vardy trained in the Stocksbridge Steels academy to slowly grow up into a footballer ready for senior action. Vardy was brought into the senior team in 2007 and he showed that his manager couldn’t have been more right. Vardy amassed 66 goals in the 107 fixtures that he appeared for the club during three years and made the headlines now and then due to his superb pace and form.
During his time at Stocksbridge Steels, Vardy was once convicted by the police for assault. However, the truth, as revealed by the current Leicester City forward, goes like this – Vardy was only protecting his deaf friend from the street lads mocking at him.
“I’m not proud of what I did but I stuck up and defended him, which I’d always do for a mate, and it’s ended up getting me in a bit of trouble,” admitted Vardy.
He was imposed a curfew – a 6 p.m. curfew by the courts due to his actions. To not get into trouble because of this imposition, Vardy had to be substituted after 60 minutes by Stocksbridge Park Steels and he had to rush back to make it home in time.
“It was a case of hoping that we were winning, taking me off and making sure I was home,” he added.
Vardy moved to FC Halifax Town in 2010 and held up his reputation as a prolific scorer by scoring 29 times in the one year that he stayed at the club. His prolific scoring form gathered attention from all around and Conference side Fleetwood Town signed him for a record £150,000 fee. Vardy’s scoring spree continued there too as he netted 31 times in his 36 appearances, thereby guiding the Lancashire team into the Football League for the first time. Near the end of the campaign, Leicester City manager, Nigel Pearson decided to sign him for a fee of around £1 million, thereby making him the most expensive non-league player to be ever signed. In fact it was at the age of 25 that Vardy first kicked a ball in professional football.
However Vardy’s first season at the club was marred by his own loss of form, prompting criticism from some City supporters on social media, and he even considered leaving football. However Pearson and the assistant manager convinced him to stay and continue for the club. The following year saw Vardy return to form as he scored 16 times in the season and guided Leicester into the Premier League as Championship winners.
Vardy made his Premier League debut as a second half substitute in a 1-1 draw against Arsenal. The most eye catching performance of Vardy was that in the 5-3 upset win over Manchester United where he scored one and assisted 4. A rejuvenated Leicester led by the performance of Vardy picked up 22 points in the league from April. Vardy’s performance saw him being nominated for the player of the month award in April.
Vardy and Leicester came out with all guns blazing in the 2015-16 season. After 13 games Leicester sit at the top of the league after a remarkable journey from the start of the season, having lost only once this season. They have made the news for making superb comebacks in the second half with Jamie Vardy playing a very important part in it. In fact Jamie Vardy is their go to man this season. Vardy leads the scoring charts with 13 goals in 13 games at present. Since equalizing for his team against Bournemouth at the end of August, Vardy has scored in 10 consecutive games thereby equaling Nistelrooy’s record while becoming the first player to do so in a single season. His performances also saw him win the Premier League player of the month award for October. All this performances has also brought a call up to the England national team, where he made his debut against the Republic of Ireland as a substitute. Vardy is the first Leicester player to appear in an England squad since goalkeeper Ian Walker 11 years ago. In fact at the very same time last year Leicester had been sitting at the bottom of the table, a real contrast to being this season’s league toppers at present.
As fate would have wanted, Vardy gets his chance to become the first player to score in 11 consecutive league games against Manchester United this Saturday, the club Nistelrooy represented while making his record.
This has been a remarkable start to the Jamie Vardy’s season. With his express pace and clinical finishing, he is being a major threat to all the clubs this season. He is the fastest player in the league now and almost every defence has struggled to contain him. He clearly is the frontrunner to being this year’s top scorer provided he doesn’t get injured.
Through out, it has been a real fairytale ride for Jamie Vardy. Evidently, he had to struggle a lot in his early days and he aptly deserves the present fame that he is getting due to his superlative performances. Jamie Vardy has also been linked with a transfer to Manchester United and Real Madrid after his current run of form. Being 28 now, he still has a lot to offer both for the club and country and we hope that he will not turn out to be a one season wonder like many others before.
Fun Fact : Vardy is the only footballer ever to have scored against Manchester United and FC United of Manchester.
Photo by Subconscious Shadow