Jamie Vardy, the Leicester striker who has walked away from England, has the perfect antidote to raging supporters scoring sensational goals
As Jamie Vardy ushers Boris, Billy and Ralph out of the door and the sound of barking becomes more distant, the conversation inside turns to Harry Kane, Sergio Agero and Romelu Lukaku the only players to have scored more Premier League goals than the Leicester striker since his top-flight debut in 2014. So Ive still got room for improvement, Vardy says.
There is the hint of a smile on his face as he delivers that response but the message behind it is serious. I should have scored more is the first thing Vardy says when it is put to him that 20 Premier League goals last season, for a team who finished ninth, was a decent return. Even standout moments, such as that terrific controlled volley against West Brom in March, when Vardy connected so sweetly with a ball that dropped over his shoulder, and with his weaker foot, are brushed over.
If you get four chances in a game and score one, then you watch the other three back and wonder what you could have done differently, Vardy says. I scored that goal at West Brom but I got that after 20-something minutes, so the way I look at that is there are still 65 minutes when I could have gone on and scored another. I think you have to be self-critical like that as a striker. Youd love to score every single chance.
The facts and figures show Vardy has scored 63 times in 144 Premier League appearances, averaging a goal every 183 minutes. All of which is news to him and not particularly impressive news at that. He sees little value in getting bogged down with statistics and keeps no track of appearances or goals for club or country. Its weird, you dont count things like that, Vardy says.
Even a question about whether he has all his England caps prompts some rummaging in cupboards at his home in Lincolnshire. I think Ive got them. Theres one hiding somewhere, says Vardy, as he starts to search the house before returning with an answer. No, Ive not got the World Cup ones through yet.
None of that should be misinterpreted. Vardy is extremely proud of what he has achieved, never more so than when he made his England debut against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin three years ago, but he is not the sort of person to dwell on anything he is doing particularly well, or particularly badly for that matter. Rebekah, his wife, describes him as emotionless, which is exactly how he comes across, albeit with an ability to deliver some classic one-liners. For example, asked how he thinks he is perceived as a person, Vardy replies: Probably a twat.
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