'Lucky' Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy should be considered a Premier League legend ahead of Chelsea and Liverpool idols Drogba and Owen

talksport.com, 1 October 2020, 08:00
Love him or hate him, Jamie Vardy time and again proves he's one of the best goalscorers in the Premier League.

And the Leicester City striker will be aiming to get more on Sunday - live on talkSPORT - as he takes on West Ham United at 12pm.

Jamie Vardy's achievements at Leicester have been under appreciatedA hat-trick against Man City on Sunday took him to 108 Premier League goals but there are always people who talk him down.

Vardy will be used to it by now, though, as he's been written off several times during his career.

Sheffield Wednesday released him as a 16-year-old and he had to take the hard route to the top.

His footballing career started in non-league with Stocksbridge Park Steels, then Halifax and Fleetwood.

Vardy came from non-league football to terrifying Premier League defences

The striker scored goals for fun in the conference before Leicester signed him for £1million back in 2012.

Even then pundits and fans wrote him off and were just waiting to see him fail because of that price tag.

The critics came for him again when Leicester were promoted to the top flight and Vardy only scored five goals in his first season.

Winning the Premier League title in the 2015/16 season wasn't even enough to get everyone off his back, even though he scored 24 times that campaign.

Michael Owen said in 2016: "Even when he was scoring loads of goals last season he wasn't convincing me he was a natural finisher.

"He's the type of centre forward or type of finisher that is very much head down and hit it. He goes for power a lot. He's not necessarily a real cute, or classy type of finisher.

"He doesn't once lift his head. He almost hits it through goalkeepers. To be a finisher like that you need a lot of luck - sometimes you'll have it. Sometimes you won't."

Michael Owen never scored 20 goals in a single Premier League season, by the way. Vardy has done it three times now.

The 33-year-old won a much deserved Golden Boot last season when he scored 23 times for Leicester as they finished fifth.

This season has started at rapid pace with five goals in just three games, including a hat-trick against Man City.

The treble was the first time someone has scored a hat-trick away from home against a Pep Guardiola side - and the only other man to hit a treble against him was Lionel Messi.

He continues to have a remarkable record against the top six sides even though he is rapidly approaching his 34th birthday.

The self-confessed Red Bull lover doesn't get the credit he deserves but his stats show why he should be considered a Premier League legend.

Let's compare his record to some of the other top players to have starred in the Premier League since its inaugural 1992 season with a similar goal tally.

Also not to be forgotten is the fact that Vardy didn't play a top flight game until he was 25, which makes his stats even more remarkable.

The stats

Jamie Vardy

Premier League goals: 108

Premier League games: 214

Goals per game: 0.5

Percentage of goals against 'Big Six': 34%

Michael Owen

Premier League goals: 150

Premier League games: 326

Goals per game: 0.46

Percentage of goals against 'Big Six': 15%

Didier Drogba

Premier League goals: 104

Premier League games: 254

Goals per game: 0.41

Percentage of goals against 'Big Six': 20%

Jermain Defoe

Premier League goals: 162

Premier League games: 496

Goals per game: 0.33

Percentage of goals against 'Big Six': 17%

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

Premier League goals: 127

Premier League games: 288

Goals per game: 0.33

Percentage of goals against 'Big Six': 32%

Robbie Keane

Premier League goals: 126

Premier League games: 349

Goals per game: 0.36

Percentage of goals against 'Big Six': 17%

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The Leicester striker has a much better goals per game ratio and percentage scored against the top six than Michael Owen, Didier Drogba, Jermaine Defoe, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Robbie Keane.

There's no reason to assume that Vardy's strike rate will deteriorate any time soon. Another couple of seasons hitting the 20+ tally will see him around the same mark as people like Robin van Persie, Teddy Sheringham and Les Ferdinand.

Legendary status?

Vardy isn't everyone's cup of tea. He's an annoying player to play against. He runs constantly, makes a nuisance of himself and is deadly in front of goal. He's the sort of player fans would love to have in their team.

His celebrations and actions invite criticism. Mimicking an Eagle when he scored against Crystal Palace and cupping his ears to supporters spring to mind but it's often as a result of provocation from opposing fans. He's answering those critics - and how!

That said, just because you don't like a player doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to appreciate their talents and record.

Vardy has done enough now to warrant his place among the upper echelons of Premier League strikers.

Love him or hate him, Jamie Vardy time and again proves he's one of the best goalscorers in the Premier League.

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