5 players who could emulate Jamie Vardy
When Jamie Vardy converted England’s equalising goal against the Welsh during the UEFA Euro 2016 in Lens on Thursday, he wrote another chapter of his remarkable rags-to-riches story. Rejected by Sheffield Wednesday as a 16-year-old, the English forward was obsessed with the game from a young age but found it difficult to break down the door.
Just four years ago Vardy was plying his trade in non-league football and, not long before that, was working full-time in a carbon fibre factory. Following a switch from his club Stockbridge, where he was earning £30 per week, to Halifax Town, Vardy slowly climbed up the football ladder, later joining Fleetwood Town. Leicester City then took a punt and broke the record paid for a non-league player, snapping Vardy up for £1 million.
Since the move, Vardy has scarcely looked back. His debut season in the Premier League was one of feeling his feet, but this campaign a tally of 24 league goals, equal to Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, aided Leicester City’s title win which defied all logic left in football.
It’s a tale of desire, determination and a refusal to be beaten. Vardy’s electric pace and clinical eye for goal are one thing, but it’s his enthusiasm for the game and belief in his own ability that has ultimately paved a path from an ordinary life to the Premier League elite. Here are a handful of other youngsters locked in English football’s depths who hope to emulate Vardy’s ascendence not only to better their footballing careers but to better their livelihoods and their quality of life as a whole.
#1 Luke Wanadio
After impressing in the first half of last season at Staines Town by registering 10 league goals and as many assists before November was out, Wanadio was on the radar of a host of clubs, but saw his contract torn up by the Surry-based outfit at the start of the year. He was particularly influential in an FA Cup first round tie with Leyton Orient last winter, who themselves fancied signing the 23-year-old.
Since his release though, National League depth-dwellers Welling won his signature and the forward continues to showcase good speed on the flank as well as an unselfish attitude in the final third. He’s an obscure name few would have seen before, he is fast approaching the age where he’ll no longer be known as a young gem and he’s already faced rejection in his career; he definitely ticks all the Vardy-esque criteria.