Jamie Vardy’s meteoric rise from a non-league scoundrel to a free scoring Premier League striker is a great footballing story. He hassles defenders like a playground bully struggling to balance Key Stage 3 with a premature nicotine addiction. Vardy’s tenacity has been well rewarded so far this season. The man once rejected by Sheffield Wednesday as a teenager has just written himself into Premier League goal scoring folklore. Vardy has now scored in ten consecutive Premier League games, only Ruud van Nistelrooy can boast of a record just as good. Not only this but Leicester City are top of the league with already a third of the season gone! The Foxes have firmly cemented their place as genuine title contenders, and with Vardy at the helm, who would write them off?
Vardy is what the FA might call, “unpolished” or “a right old scallywag”, however the former Fleetwood Town man is fast becoming European football’s most deadly striker, even Real Madrid and Barcelona have taken an interest according to the Independent.
Nonetheless the fox trot is likely to come to a grinding holt in the coming weeks as Vardy’s Leicester have a daunting set of fixtures to contest, starting against title rivals Manchester United this weekend. One thing is for sure; if Leicester are top after Christmas then Jamie Vardy will be having a party.
Vardy banter has already swept the nation; with the Euro’s to come, the England international has every chance of reaching the dizzying heights of Gazza mania during Italia 90.
At twenty-eight Vardy is relatively old to be breaking into the national team. However his emergence is reminiscent of the humble graft and determination that was once required to play for England. In fact I take great promise from Vardy’s supposed eagerness to have a pint, he’s a throwback to the boys in Hong Kong and that infamous dentist chair. And, coincidently, those lads were the last to guide England to the semi-final of a major tournament, back in EURO 96 – good times.
Since then the FA have hired foreign managers with a boot-camp mentality to somehow ‘shock’ the England players into winning. What we have in return is an England team afraid to express themselves, on and off the field. It is no coincidence that Wayne Rooney’s finest international tournament was his first, when he was just a balding eighteen-year-old, invulnerable to scrutiny with the world at his feet.
Rooney’s case is a fine example and one that England should learn from. Every time an English player shows promise, there is a tendency to protect that player from seemingly nothing, as though the FA is this great paternal organisation, looking to bring up their players in the ‘right way’.
Football used to be played by people like Jamie Vardy; now the real game is performed by a bunch of suits in the FA and other associations. Which brings me to St George’s Park; English football’s latest footballing factory. It’s the FA’s attempt to manufacture a World Cup winning team, and young boys are being let down, or hyped up far sooner than they should be as a result of it. I wonder how many Jamie Vardy’s have slipped through the cracks since Prince William declared the park fit for purpose?
Many believe Vardy will be a success at the EURO’s and when he docks into Dover, fresh from his French revolution, with a WKD in hand, the tabloid media will harass the striker before congratulating him. Real Madrid will make good on their word to sign him, and Esquire will finally acknowledge his world domination in an article titled, “A Modern Man’s Guide To Jamie Vardy”.
English football needs Vardy to be far more of success than it realises. Not since Gazza has English football forged a divine line from pub player to international hero, the appeal of Vardy is that he is not a celebrity, on the contrary, he’s just another happy-go-lucky bloke, the sort you might find in the corner of a Weatherspoon’s bar.
Vardy is too old for the FA to indoctrinate and far too irresponsible to take notice of them anyway. As a result he is a fully-fledged England loony in the making, with the pace of Michael Owen, the idiocy of Gazza and the liver of Tony Adams. You never know, Vardy may just reinvigorate a nation’s interest in international football, like Gazza once did, almost twenty-six years ago.
Photo Credits: I wish I knew