The rise of Leicester and England’s Jamie Vardy

24 Jun

Following an incredible season and amid widespread speculation linking him with a move away from the club, England striker Jamie Vardy has signed a new contract with surprise Premier League champions Leicester City. UEFA.com looks at the 29-year-old’s improbable rise to prominence and UEFA EURO 2016.


Born: 11/01/1987
Clubs:
Stocksbridge Park Steels, FC Halifax Town, Fleetwood Town, Leicester City
Titles

• Halifax: Northern Premier League Premier Division (7th tier) 2010/11
• Fleetwood: National League Premier (5th tier) 2011/12
• Leicester: Championship (2nd tier) 2013/14, Premier League 2015/16

PART ONE: REJECTION AND REDEMPTION

  • A Sheffield Wednesday trainee until the age of 16, he was released and joined eighth-tier Stocksbridge Park Steels, breaking into their first team in 2007. He was on about €40 a week.
  • While playing part-time, Vardy worked in a carbon fibre factory.
  • After a promotion and 66 goals in 107 league games for the Steels he was picked up in 2010 by reformed former league club Halifax for around €20,000.
  • An immediate success at Halifax, he top-scored with 24 goals as they landed the Northern Premier League title.

PART TWO: TURNING PRO

  • Four matches into the following season, Vardy moved to fifth-tier Fleetwood and turned professional.
  • Netted in the first two rounds of the 2011/12 FA Cup proper against league sides Wycombe Wanderers and Yeovil Town to help Fleetwood to a dream tie against major neighbours Blackpool.
  • After Fleetwood’s 5-1 loss, Blackpool manager Ian Holloway made a subsequently rejected transfer offer for Vardy.
  • At the end of Vardy’s first season, Fleetwood were promoted to the Football League for the first time. Vardy was divisional top scorer on 31 goals.
©Getty Images

PART THREE: LEICESTER CALL

  • Vardy was signed by Championship team Leicester in May 2012 for roughly €1.3m, the highest fee paid at the time for someone outside the Football League.
  • Among other managers that had courted Vardy was Roy Hodgson, then in charge of West Bromwich Albion.
  • Struck on his Leicester debut against Torquay United in the League Cup and soon opened his account in the Championship against Blackburn Rovers though he mustered just four goals that campaign, which led Vardy to consider giving up football.
  • The next term he plundered 16 goals as Leicester won the Championship to return to the Premier League.
©Getty Images

PART FOUR: PREMIER LEAGUE AND ENGLAND

  • Made his Premier League breakthrough on 21 September by scoring one and creating four in Leicester’s stunning 5-3 defeat of Manchester United.
  • Leicester struggled after that, until they hit form in April to escape relegation, Vardy registering winners against West Brom and Burnley.
  • The forward was called into the England squad for the first time and on 7 June debuted as a substitute for Wayne Rooney 75 minutes into a 0-0 friendly draw in the Republic of Ireland.
©Getty Images

PART FIVE: DREAM SEASON

  • Season 2015/16 was a dream for Vardy and Leicester. From 29 August to 28 November, Vardy scored in a record 11 consecutive Premier League games.
  • On 26 March, he claimed his first England goal with a back-heel in a 3-2 friendly victory in Germany.
  • By the close of the campaign, Vardy had 24 Premier League strikes and Leicester an improbable title. He was named Premier League and Football Writers’ player of the season.
  • Called into England’s UEFA EURO 2016 squad but missed the 26 May friendly with Australia having got married the day before, a wedding already postponed several times previously.
  • Scored England’s equaliser in the 2-1 victory against Wales in the group stage just 11 minutes after coming on.

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