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PARTY BOY

Jamie Vardy is more than just a prolific wind-up merchant — he’s an inspiration

The Foxes front man continues to do Non-League proud by building a Premier League legacy

Such is the immediate, reactionary nature of football that Leicester’s miraculous title win of 2015/16 already feels of a different era.

Nobody who experienced it will ever forget what the Foxes achieved that season and while N’Golo Kante’s industry and Riyad Mahrez’s brilliance were key, it’s Jamie Vardy who will forever be the unlikely Hollywood heartthrob of it all.

Keep your Man City machines, this was as good as it’ll ever get

PA:Press Association
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Keep your Man City machines, this was as good as it’ll ever get

It can often be difficult to relate to Premier League footballers.

But Leicester’s No9 – with his love of energy drinks and ear-cupping celebrations – is a mirror of the common man.

During the fantastical days of 2015/16, the ‘Vardy party’ chant became part of popular culture, as did the catchphrase ‘chat s**t, get banged’.

And while all that hullabaloo has now died down, he remains an inspiration to millions today.

Ruud van Nislelrooy’s record? Completed it mate

PA:Press Association
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Ruud van Nislelrooy’s record? Completed it mate

Vardy is so much more than just a speed merchant.

His spacial awareness, of where he is in relation to the goal, is up there with the best strikers in the league.

And his predatory instincts, movement and anticipation in the box make him a great poacher as well.

Then there’s his relentless hounding down of defenders, the niggles, his willingness to stand up and be counted every second of every game.

Vardy’s sensational strike against Bournemouth is a Goal of the Season contender, a regular party piece for the Foxes legend.

His controlled over-the-shoulder volley against West Brom was named Match of the Day’s Goal of the Season in May.

He could have won it for his superbly cushioned outside-of-the-boot volley over Hugo Lloris as well.

In both instances he showed a mastery of technique you’d expect from the Dimitar Berbatovs and Dennis Bergkamps of this world.

Every squad needs a Vardy

Getty - Contributor
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Every squad needs a Vardy

A final day brace took his tally to 20 goals for the 2018/19 season and he’s started well this campaign with three from four games.

His total Premier League tally currently stands at 83 — he’ll go level with Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo with his next league goal.

And considering his record against the ‘big six’, that could happen this weekend at Tevez and Ronaldo’s former stomping ground as Leicester travel to Old Trafford.

Vardy is the closest active player to joining the Premier League 100 club and considering no player has scored more goals in the top-flight since Brendan Rodgers took the reins at the King Power, you wouldn’t bet against him being initiated this season.

Synergy

Getty Images - Getty
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Synergy

Let’s not forget he signed for Leicester from Fleetwood Town.

His meteoric rise from Non-League prankster to record-breaking Premier League champion reached a peak when the party climaxed in 2016.

But the fact he’s carried on scoring goals, long after the hangover has evaporated, affirms that his legacy stretches beyond one phenomenal season.

He’s a proven Premier League goalscorer and a beacon of hope for every Non-League player, Sunday league pretender, and fan.

Vardy is all of us in our back gardens, living out the dream and loving every second of it.

Even more than that, he’s a character.

From punching himself in the head as a punishment for a missed chance, to celebrating in front of opposition fans, to sipping port out of a Lucozade bottle the night before a game.

The Premier League would be so much worse off without Vardy, both in terms of quality and entertainment.

What a hero, what a bloody hero.


NEXT: That player you pretended to be when you were young — how do you feel about them now?

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