Football: Jamie Vardy - from non-League player to Premier League scoring record holder

Leicester City's Jamie Vardy reacts during the Barclays Premier League match against Manchester United.
Leicester City's Jamie Vardy reacts during the Barclays Premier League match against Manchester United.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS/AFP) - Jamie Vardy wrote a new chapter in his fairy-tale rise from the wilderness of non-League football to playing for England, when he became the first player to score in 11 consecutive Premier League matches on Saturday.

The Leicester City striker's 24th-minute goal against Manchester United at the King Power Stadium eclipsed the record established across two seasons in 2003 by United's former Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy and took Vardy closer to an even older record, set almost 84 years ago.

If Vardy scores against Swansea City next week, the player described by his manager Claudio Ranieri as "this fantastic man" will equal the all-time top-flight scoring record of 12 consecutive matches established by Sheffield United's Irish forward Jimmy Dunne in the old Division One in 1931-32.

 

Sheffield United said this week that widespread reports that Blackpool's Stan Mortensen set the record at 11 matches in 1950-51 were incorrect, confirming that Dunne scored 19 goals in his 12-match run between Oct 24 1931 and Jan1, 1932.

Vardy's scoring sequence began with a late penalty in a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth on Aug 29 and has also included braces against Arsenal and Southampton.

Vardy, 28, born in Sheffield and a boyhood Sheffield Wednesday fan, has scored 13 in his 11-match streak and 14 for the season, making him the League's top scorer and an early contender for the Footballer of the Year award, which has never been won by a Leicester player.

But right now, the speedy striker, who has broken into the England squad this year and has four caps, is firmly focused on winning matches first.

"I am obviously delighted," he told Sky Sports after breaking the record. "But the main thing was the performance and I think we put in a very good shift today."

Vardy has come a long way since being convicted of assault, and placed under police curfew with an electronic tag to monitor his movements while slowly building his career away from the limelight at Stocksbridge, Halifax and Fleetwood Town.

He has played 111 times for Leicester since they gambled £1 million (S$2.12 million) on his pace and skill to bring them goals and he has not let them down with 39 so far.

His manager Claudio Ranieri described him as "this fantastic man" after he scored on Saturday.

His story is quite fantastic too.

VARDY IN BRIEF:

Name: Jamie Richard Vardy

Date of birth: Jan 11, 1987

Place of birth: Sheffield, England

Position: Striker

Club career: Stocksbridge Park Steels (Eng/2007-2010), Halifax Town (Eng/2010-2011), Fleetwood Town (Eng/2011-2012), Leicester City (Eng/2012-present)

National team: England. Appearances: 4. Goals: 0

Debut: June 7, 2015 (v Republic of Ireland, Dublin)

Honours: 2010-11 Northern Premier League Premier Division (seventh tier), 2011-12 Conference Premier (fifth tier), 2013-14 Football League Championship (second tier).