LONDON (AFP) - Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy deserves the accolade of "great", Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said on Friday.
And van Gaal, who has worked with some great strikers over the years, went as far as to say he would not discount the possibility that Vardy could keep his side in contention for the Premier League title.
Vardy's 13 goals this season have taken Leicester to the top of the table, a point ahead of United before the two meet at the King Power Stadium on Saturday evening.
Vardy scored against United when Leicester came back from 3-1 down to win 5-3 last September and, if the England international, 28, repeats the feat, he will set a new Premier League record of scoring in 11 successive league games.
Van Gaal said: "He was already last season a very nasty player for us. He scored and provoked a penalty and now he is scoring 10 games in a row. Then you are a great player.
"I only know Dennis Bergkamp as a player at home who did the same with Ajax. It's not so easy to do that."
Leicester have been the league's surprise packages this season under the guidance of former Chelsea, Juventus and Roma manager Claudio Ranieri.
They have lost only once and van Gaal believes they could be unlikely champions.
He added: "Normally this kind of club can be a long time competing, but at the end it is more difficult.
"But in England, because of the quality of the teams and because every team has the money to buy players - and they have bought players - the difference in the Premier League between clubs is not so high, so it's possible I think."