Is Jamie Vardy among the world's best?
Background Image Via: Wikimedia Commons/Pioeb. CC BY-SA 4.0.
Jamie Vardy has been bringing the party to Premier League football for over a half-decade now. Aged 32, the Leicester City forward is on course for his most prolific season yet having struck ten times in eleven games. The evergreen speedster is truly loving life under Brendan Rodgers.
The Sheffield-born-striker is currently leading the charge for the Golden Boot race, with Vardy beating off firm competition from world-renowned names like Sergio Aguero, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Harry Kane. So why is it that Vardy's name isn't regularly brought up when discussing the best hitmen in the country, nevermind Europe...?
Vardy has scored 91 goals over the last four-and-a-bit seasons. Consistency is key and Leicester's #9 is constantly sniffing around that magical 20+ goal-a-season mark. Outside of the stupendous Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, that's a record that most would be proud of.
Sure, sticking the ball in the back of the net is the most important factor for any striker worth their salt but that's not all Vardy is good at. We're talking about a vastly underrated player who has several dimensions to his overall game. Speed is undoubtedly the scary thing for any opposing defender and as we all know, Vardy has that in abundance. Be it on the counter-attack with green grass aplenty to run into, or out-running his man to stretch the play and create space for the likes of James Maddison, the Englishman is a player who loves to utilise his insane pace in a multifaceted manner.
Selflessness is a rare trait in most forwards. We're talking about the most prima donna position within the beautiful game. The striker is often jealous and somewhat disappointed when he's not the one scoring the goals. As for Vardy, he just loves seeing his side emerge victorious on any given matchday. If the Englishman spots a teammate in a better position then Vardy will always look to play the pass rather than taking on the chance himself from the impossible angle. He's the consummate professional who gives his all for the cause, and that's why he's such a firm fan favourite.
It's not just Leicester fans that absolutely adore Vardy, either. Football fans up and down the country love the former Fleetwood Town star purely because he's so relatable. In the modern-day game, as an avid fan I've never felt more disconnected than the game's biggest stars. Vardy's rise through the leagues, his cheeky chappy attitude and fun-loving demeanour ensure that he's loved by most - though I'm not sure Crystal Palace fans will have appreciated the Eagle celebration at Selhurst Park yesterday...
The best of the best rise to the top when the lights are at their brightest. Vardy's record against the so-called big six is almost flawless. The striker has struck eight times against Arsenal, seven versus Liverpool, five against each Manchester club and four when facing off against Tottenham Hotspur.
We're talking about a complete package who's game matches up with the elites in world football. Perhaps it's the fact that he plays for 'lowly' Leicester City and isn't in the Champions League season-in-season-out, but don't forget that he was at the heart of that sensational Premier League victory just a few years ago and his form hasn't dropped off since. It's about time we recognise Jamie Vardy as a great of the game, someone who has surpassed the likes of Michael Owen, Fernando Torres and many other high-level players these shores have seen. Hopefully, he starts getting the recognition he so richly deserves.
⏺️Averages 0.9 Goals per match
⏺️ Avgs 1 Goal/Assist per match
⏺️ 14 games against Non 'Big 6' teams = 16 Goals/ 2 Assists
⏺️ Avgs 1.14 Goals per match against Non 'Big 6' teams
⏺️ Avgs 1.29 Goal/Assist per match against Non 'Big 6' teams