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Jamie Vardy would have been a Golden Boot contender had he avoided injury

Allow us to indulge in some Sliding Doors speculation for a moment.

Jamie Vardy (£4.3m) missed just under four months of this season after incurring an injury his hamstring and then another to his knee.

Leicester’s No9 missed 21 fixtures in all competitions while sidelined, a significant portion of the campaign in anyone’s book.

Despite these two significant layoffs, the experienced striker still manged to score 17 goals when all was said and done.

Vardy’s strike against Southampton on Sunday was his 15th league goal of the campaign – a tally only bettered by five players.

Fine wines and all that

Fine wines and all that

The 35-year-old started just 20 league games this term plus five substitute appearances so it’s remarkable that he finished level with Diogo Jota (£4.8m) for goals.

To put it another way, Vardy averaged a league goal every 120.4 minutes.

It’s therefore reasonable to assert that he would have been a serious Golden Boot contender had he avoided serious injury setbacks.

In fact, had he played as many minutes as Son Heung-min (£6.6m) he would have scored 25 goals if he maintained his average strike rate for 2021/22.

The South Korean superstar scored 23 goals to share the Golden Boot with Mohamed Salah (£7.2m).

Of course, it’s easy enough to propose the theory that Vardy would have been the Premier League’s top scorer had he not been injured from behind a keyboard.

As Gino D’Acampo once said: “If my grandmother had wheels she would have been a bike.”

17 goals in all competitions is no mean feat having been sidelined for four months

17 goals in all competitions is no mean feat having been sidelined for four months

At 35 years old, fitness issues are to be expected of the Foxes’ talisman, especially given his explosive playing style at his peak.

The point is that Vardy was incredibly prolific when fit and his efforts deserve to be celebrated.

He finished the season with 126 Dream Team points to his name, just four shy of Romelu Lukaku (£4.5m) who is the tenth-best forward in the game.

Vardy’s average of 3.9 points-per-game is not far off that of Sadio Mane (£5.3m) and the aforementioned Jota, who both average 4.2 points-per-game with one game in hand.

These stats should alert eager Dream Team gaffers who may already be thinking of their potential route to mini-league glory next season.

39 points from his last four games this term can’t be ignored and if the likes of James Maddison (£5.3m) and Harvey Barnes (£4.2m) return from their summer break in top form then Leicester assets may be popular ahead of Game Week 1.

But hang on, let’s not wish the summer away just yet…