Schwarzer once thought Leicester star Jamie Vardy was 'miles off it'

Lane Dias October 29, 2020
Schwarzer once thought Leicester star Jamie Vardy was 'miles off it'
Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

Leicester City are set to make four changes to their usual starting line-up for their Europa League fixture against AEK Athens, according to Leicestershire Live, with Jamie Vardy returning, but Mark Schwarzer has admitted he once didn’t rate the star striker.

The Foxes’ number nine was left out of the starting line-up against Arsenal on the weekend, having recovered from a calf injury.

However, he was introduced on the hour-mark against the Gunners and scored the winner late on.

He is set to make his return to a side that could see regulars Youri Tielemans, Harvey Barnes, Timothy Castagne and Nampalys Mendy rested.

‘Miles off it’

Vardy‘s involvement will be integral. He is the club’s top-scorer in the Premier League with 109 goals.

However, it could have been so different for the striker, according to former teammate Mark Schwarzer. The goalkeeper believed that Vardy was initially adjudged to have been ‘miles off it.’

Vardy signed for Leicester in July 2012 for a reported £1 million fee from Fleetwood Town, a puzzling fee for a non-league player, as per his ex-colleague Schwarzer.

As quoted by Leicestershire Live, he said: “I remember speaking to players at the club and they said he was miles off it. They were surprised they’d paid that much for him.

“It was until that summer, at the start of the 2014/15 or 2015/16 season that things changed. He came back and was a different player.

“They realised he could go on to big things. He’s a real fighter with a proper eye for goal.

“He’s a proper menace on the football pitch and he loves to be a menace.”

Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

‘No slowing down’

Vardy has scored 109 goals from 216 top-flight appearances for Leicester. He helped the Foxes to a first ever Premier League title during the 2015-16 season, scoring 24 goals. The number is his highest top-flight return to date.

He did however, win the Golden Boot accolate last season, scoring a goal fewer than in 2016, at the age of 33.

He has become rejuvenated under manager Brendan Rodgers according to the now-retired ‘keeper, who insists the tactician has made good use of the veteran.

“Since Rodgers came in he’s adjusted Vardy’s game. He’s told him to control his game, to play in the width of the 18 yard box.

“You see he conserves energy. He can still run off people’s shoulders and there’s no sign of him slowing down.”

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BA (Hons) First Class degree in Sports Journalism at the University of East London. Sports fan, avid traveller, foodie and lover of films and tv.