Who do you think is the best striker in the Premier League right now? Sergio Aguero? Harry Kane? Do Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane count? Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang perhaps?
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What about the man who would be awarded the Golden Boot in the unlikely situation that the season was cancelled tomorrow, Jamie Vardy.
The Leicester City frontman has enjoyed a stellar campaign, leading the Premier League scoring charts with 19 goals, and was on track to break his personal record which stands as the 24 goals he scored during Leicester’s title-winning campaign.
Yet for the most part it almost feels as if it is going under the radar, as odd as that is to say. Until the injuries suffered by Kane and Marcus Rashford when he came back into the England conversation it felt as if he was just another constant people were taking for granted.

Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)

Image credit: Getty Images

Perhaps the problem is that everyone knows the 33-year-old’s story, the rags to riches that culminated in the fairytale Premier League title. Perhaps it’s his wife’s social media antics. Or perhaps it’s as simple as the fact that he is no longer the flavour of the month.
There has to be a reason, because at 33 years of age what Vardy is doing is absolutely remarkable.
Since the end of the 2014-2015 season, where Vardy’s purple patch in April drove his team to avoid relegation, the forward has been borderline unstoppable. In the five seasons since, including this one, he has scored 94 goals in the Premier League, behind only Aguero and Kane.
PlayerPremier League games (Last five seasons)Goals Goals per game
Jamie Vardy168940.56
Sergio Aguero1411020.72
Harry Kane1531120.73
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang75490.65
Sadio Mane155700.45
Mohamed Salah100700.70
As you can see from the table above Vardy does have a poorer goal to game ratio than every player on this list bar Mane but he more than holds his own, and that is the point entirely. Vardy is a player who still plays for a team that is not part of the traditional “Big 6”.
Plus it’s not as if Vardy should necessarily be knocked for his endurance; for example everyone knows how much Aguero’s absence can impact Manchester City. Furthermore one of the joys of Vardy the player is how much he brings to the team aside from his goals with his relentless pressing and space he therefore creates for his team-mates.

James Maddison und jamie Vardy von Leicester City

Image credit: Getty Images

Some of those team-mates, such as Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante, have moved on to bigger things, but Vardy has stayed loyal to Leicester, doing his very best to drag them back into the Champions League.
That might be the answer to our original question. Vardy’s inflexion point might have come the summer after he won the league, when he turned down a move to Arsenal. From that point onwards it felt as if Vardy was written off, we were told he had missed his chance for the big time and before long he would be yesterday’s news as his pace eventually deserted him.
Whilst Vardy, and to the same extent Aubameyang, has benefitted from the advances made in sports science it also does both players a massive disservice to claim their games are built only on pace. What they have both shown as they have entered their 30s is that they are canny, intelligent strikers, who boast elite finishing.
PlayerPremier League games against Big Six in careerGoalsGoals per game% Career PL goals against Big Six
Jamie Vardy59330.560.33
Sergio Aguero67440.660.24
Harry Kane48240.500.18
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang1860.330.12
Sadio Mane50190.380.24
Mohamed Salah27150.560.21
And of course one of the other thing that makes Vardy so special is his record against the “Big 6” which, to be fair, does get the attention that it deserves.
In Vardy’s Premier League career exactly one third (33 off 99) of his Premier League goals have come against either Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United or Tottenham Hotspur.
This record compares very favourably with his peers, once you ignore the freak that is Aguero, but even then the Argentine can’t live with Vardy’s percentage of goals against the Big Six.
In an era where social media detractors love to throw out terms like “statpadder” or “goes missing in big games” to try and win their petty squabbles, Vardy’s mentality when it matters is absolutely astonishing.
Just as astonishing is the fact that for some reason this has become the accepted status quo, it’s just how it’s supposed to be, that Vardy scores goals.

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Except it wasn’t, he was supposed to be a one-hit wonder who only thrived in Claudio Ranieri’s counter-attacking system. He was supposed to drop off as he lost Mahrez, as he got older, and as teams figured him out.
Yet none of that has happened, he is arguably getting better and seems completely reborn under Brendan Rodgers with a young, and electric, support cast around him. Vardy’s decision to retire from England duty seems fluid, but with the postponement of the European Championships it does seem unlikely that he will be in Gareth Southgate’s squad in 2021. Yet that doesn’t diminish the likelihood that next season (whenever that may be) we’re going to see Vardy have another crack at terrorising European defences. We can’t wait.
So when the Premier League eventually returns, don’t forget to enjoy Vardy, he’s a truly special player and the way he has kept on going is absolutely remarkable. Even if he doesn’t make another appearance for England he will end his career as a Premier League winner and almost certainly a member of the 100 goals club. He deserves to be considered as one of the best.
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