It is fair to say that this has not been the start to the Premier League season that Leicester City envisaged. After back-to-back fifth-place finishes had raised expectations of the Foxes, their two wins from seven and two points from the last 12 have seen them drop to 13th spot in the league table to this point. Quite how much they would have struggled without Jamie Vardy’s input is barely worth contemplating.
While the likes of Caglar Soyuncu have scrambled for form in the absence of the injured Jonny Evans and Wesley Fofana, Vardy has been the one constant that manager Brendan Rodgers has been able to rely upon. With six goals to his name in seven appearances in the Premier League, he sits alongside Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah as the top scorer the Premier League has to offer.
The defensive structure which Rodgers’ sides have become known for in recent years might have temporarily deserted them – with 12 goals conceded thus far – but the Sheffield-born striker has remained as consistent as ever in front of goal, showing that he is still able to deliver the goods consistently even when his side are not at the races.
“That was a Jamie Vardy performance,” said Brendan Rodgers after the striker’s brace in the 2-2 draw with Burnley. “He was a threat all game, he was superb. You are seeing his energy in the game, freshness, movement and work rate.
“He is a top, top striker. His movement for the goals was excellent, both were really good team goals, but he makes the pass because of his movement.”
Since his debut in English football’s top flight at the age of 27, Vardy has developed into one of the most lethal marksmen the league has ever seen. Leicester’s first season back in the Premier League in 2014-15 famously ended with a great escape, with Vardy netting only five times in 34 league games. But the following campaign saw a switch flipped as he set a new Premier League record of 11 consecutive goalscoring appearances on the way to a 24-goal return as the Foxes stormed to their fairytale title win in 2015-16.
Since that incredible season, Vardy has never scored less than 13 in a league season – including a 20-goal haul in 2017-18 and 23 in 2019-20 which earned him his first Golden Boot. He has had an incredible impact on the top flight and his form in front of goal has gained him access to the exclusive Premier League 100 club, becoming the ninth-fastest player to reach that milestone, in just 206 games.
The 34-year-old has taken a leaf out of Cristiano Ronaldo’s book in proving that age is just a number as he continues to shake off the spectre of Father Time. He still uses his pace to blitz defenders and play off the shoulder, and his style of play is still executed effectively. While it has already been noted this season about the apparent lack of squad depth at the King Power Stadium, Foxes boss Rodgers will be working restlessly to ensure that Vardy’s goals are worth more than just the odd point, as has happened too often already this term.
It shouldn’t really come as a surprise to see Vardy have such a bright start to the season after his consistent displays over the last six campaigns, but his numbers this year are better than his start to the title-winning season. He may have been a late bloomer, but he has become one of the deadliest centre-forwards in the game and age is in no way holding him back.
With no international football for him to worry about, having retired from England duty in 2018, all his attention over the break will have been on how to help his side convert his goals into points. It may not have been the start to the season defensively that the current FA Cup holders were hoping for, but at least with a striker like Vardy at your disposal, you are never going to have to worry about goals going in at the other end.
Jamie Vardy continues to defy logic.