Jamie Vardy is currently the Premier League’s top goalscorerHow many people had bet on Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy to be the Premier League top scorer at this stage of the season when the 2015/16 season got underway in early August this year? His name was surely not even considered in a league replete with high-profile forwards such as Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa. Even Harry Kane would have been the first English forward to come up in such discussions.12 games into the season, Vardy is the only player to get into double digits so far with 12 goals. The next best players are five goals behind in the charts. In a bizarre start to the season, Aguero has been injured, Costa has struggled and Kane has only just found his form again. Meanwhile, the 28-year-old striker has even set a record for most consecutive EPL matches scored in by an Englishman, now chasing Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of 10 games.But who exactly is Vardy and where did he come from to light up the Premier League and even get an England call-up?
#1 Jamie Vardy almost gave up on football at 15
When Vardy was a teenager, he was doing what every talented kid dreaming of playing professional football was doing. Playing at an esteemed academy. Born in Sheffield, England, young Jamie was enrolled in the Sheffield Wednesday academy.
But he was in for a rude shock when he turned 15. The club decided he was just too short to have a successful career in football and they eventually released him from the academy.
Vardy took it hard. It was a huge and disappointing blow to a youngster who chased big dreams. For him, it seemed like the end and he stopped playing football altogether.
“Sheffield Wednesday were the club I’d supported all my life,” Vardy had said, according to The Guardian. “That was the lowest moment for me, real heartache, and what made it even worse was that I had a growth spurt literally a month after I was released. All of a sudden, I shot up a good 20 centimetres out of nowhere.”
It would take another eight months before Vardy decided to give football another go. But it wasn’t at any fancy club or academy – it was, instead, for a local team which took part in Sunday League football (amateur level competitions in the UK) at the park.
He would eventually play for non-league side Stocksbridge Park Steels’ youth team and earn a modest £30 a week. “I’d never earned anything through football before so I was happy to get that,” Vardy said when he was questioned about his past.