Jamie Vardy’s career has certainly been the proverbial rollercoaster in the game of football. Great success at the non-league level with others and then Fleetwood Town (as they went on to enjoy their own successful promotion journey in years to follow) but after his performances for them in the 2011/12 campaign, Leicester City took the punt and shelled out £1 million for his services – a non-league record transfer fee at the point.
The now 37 year old striker, hit the 2012 campaign running, scoring four times in his opening nine appearances, but once the adrenaline of his new Championship adventure ended, he massively struggled for the remainder of the campaign, and he ended the year with 29 games and only five goals.
Then we saw the improvement, as not only did he learn to cope at the professional level, he also learned how to be a professional full stop. Vardy was honest enough to later go on the record admitting he enjoyed the excesses his new found wealth brought, including the alcohol that involved and how, for a period, he was totally living the dream, yet completely unprepared to not only show his talent, but also reward the faith Leicester had placed in him.
When that clicked and he focused, well, all football fans in the wider world know what the future held. Leicester City’s promotion into the Premier League and then their completely unexpected top flight title win win back in the 2015/16 season after previously avoiding relegation by the skin of their teeth. European adventures were involved, as were 26 England caps.
At the time of writing, purely on league games alone (ignoring domestic Cups, European action and international action), Vardy has clocked up a conservative 551 appearances, with a return of 261 goals.
Leicester find themselves back in the Championship this year, but Vardy does not seem to regret doubling down with the club and signing a new extension back when Arsenal were heavily chasing his services, and he is clearly back to loving life but in the right way.
Having scored his tenth goal of the current campaign as they battle for promotion again with a 5-0 victory over Stoke City, he said.
“Age is just a number. You are as as old as you feel, how your legs feel, and I make sure I look after myself and make sure I recover right and do extra when I’m at home. So as long as I keep doing that, I’ll keep feeling fresh. I don’t really look back, it’s all about looking forward.”
Enzo Maresco is now asking for something completely different from Vardy’s play, and he is delivering and making it work.
Sometimes football does make dreams come true.