Jamie Vardy is 32 today, and what a fantastic story of a player that has gone through the league ladder from the very bottom to the top, from non-league to his only full professional club, Leicester City.
The story has been told so many times, but it can be told again, and today Jamie is 32, a father to three and a stepfather of two. He married his wife Rebecca in 2016, best man was former Leicester team mate David Nugent.
Vardy, born in Sheffield, never really got recognized at an early age being released from Sheffield Wednesday at the age of 16. He then joined Stocksbridge Park Steels, where he made his first team debut in 2007.
The club has been famous for bringing forward Jamie Vardy as the one and only player of any fame to have turned out in their colors, but not the full truth, Chris Waddle made one single appearance here in 2002.
After banging in goals, Halifax Town came knocking on the door and paid a fee of £15 000 to get Vardy’s signature. Their manager Neil Aspin made no mistake and after a single season at Halifax, scoring 26 goals in 37 games a new move to the fifth tier of English football happened.
Fleetwood Town paid an undisclosed fee for Vardy who just continued to do what he always had done, scoring goals. He managed 31 in 37 league games for Fleetwood. Leicester City manager at the time Nigel Pearson has a great nose for finding talent to a fair price and at the same time develop the player.
Vardy’s first years at Leicester City was a bit of a wake up call and he was not really a certain first choice before that debut season in the Premier League making a difference at home against Manchester United, scoring one of the goals in the 5-3 extraordinary game at King Power Stadium.
Despite having a difficult season after that, Nigel Pearson managed to bring out the best in Vardy for what is today called “the great escape”. Roy Hodgson recognized the work done and handed Jamie his England debut in June 2015 against Republic of Ireland.
His career had taken a good turn by then and when the 2015/16 season started, confidence was high and he became the real evidence of that “5000/1” fairy story. Together with Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kantè rising to the stars of international football and also being players really in the spotlight for the big guns.
Jamie Vardy was heavily linked with a move to Arsenal, but Leicester managed to do what it took to keep him around for a new season and the Champions League campaign. When Mahrez and Kantè, who also can thank Leicester City for bringing them the fame and help their career enormously, both jumped ship, Vardy has stood firm to the club and made his long term future clear, he will be at Leicester City for the rest of his best years of football.
He is up there with other monumental legends such as Steve Walsh, Matt Elliott and Muzzy Izzet, who all committed to the club long term and played their best football while at Leicester City. To see this type of loyalty today is rear and very much appreciated.
We wish to see Jamie continuing banging in goals for Leicester City and his presence is just a reminder of how fantastic this World of football is and how you can rise from almost nowhere to become a big star in just a flash.
Despite being in the squad of Gareth Southgate and probably being able to pick up more caps for his country, 26 (7 goals), he decided to call it a day after this summers World Cup in Russia.
To date Jamie Vardy has played 222 league games for Leicester City, scored 89 goals, he will pass 300 easily and hopefully add more goals and be one of very few to have scored 100 league goals for Leicester City.
Happy Birthday, Jamie Vardy!
A few fun facts. Emile Heskey has birthday on the same day, he is 40 today, big congratulation to him too. Vardy is born in 1987, Heskey in 1978, just opposite number.
Vardy turned down the opportunity to play for Arsenal, not really a surprise, since he had spent a year at Highbury prior to his move to Leicester City.
Vardy played for Halifax Town, which is the birthplace of another great Leicester City forward, Frank Worthington.