Jamie Vardy strikes and stands alone

Leicester City 1 Manchester United 1: In many ways Saturday was a severe case of deja vu for Jamie Vardy. On the same weekend four years ago he also scored in a 1-1 draw, playing through the pain barrier to help his side earn a valuable point.

Jamie Vardy strikes and stands alone

However, on that occasion the now England striker was not putting Manchester United to the sword but instead finding the net for Fleetwood Town against Gateshead in front of a crowd of under 1,000.

Okay, so perhaps the dja vu is not as strong as first thought.

For on Saturday, Vardy completed the incredible journey from non-league marksman to Premier League record breaker.

His goal against Manchester United was the 11th successive Premier League game in which he had found the net, taking him past the previous best of 10 matches held by Ruud van Nistelrooy.

With his foot iced and his wrist in a cast due to two broken bones, it is miracle Vardy even managed to get on the pitch let alone make history.

“I was injured that day as well,” said Vardy, reflecting on scoring for Fleetwood on the corresponding weekend four years ago.

“I was suffering with a foot injury that day as well. So it’s turned around full circle. I know I’m going to get injured at times. It’s the way I play and, if I have to play through it sometimes, that’s what I’ll do. I think it’s just getting common knowledge now, I’m getting an injury every week. I never want to not play, it’s as simple as that. I want to play as many games as I can and help the team out in as good a way as I can.”

Vardy’s spirt and work-rate typifies Leicester under Claudio Ranieri this season. Many are waiting for the Foxes’ red hot form to go cold but there was no evidence of that on Saturday.

As they have in every game, the Leicester players battled and fought for each other, pressing as a unit in a blistering and relentless manner.

Unperturbed by the profile of their visitors and the fact that this was a top of the table clash, Leicester more than held their own. Left-back Christian Fuchs threaded a through-ball into the path of Vardy for the opening goal that the likes of Mesut Ozil would have been pleased with, and the England striker emphatically converted the chance.

It seemed as though the fairytale would have a storybook ending. But, as they often do, United spoiled the party thanks to Bastian Schweinsteiger’s headed equaliser on the stroke of half-time.

It put something of a dampener on what was otherwise shaping up to be a historic day for not only Vardy but Leicester too.

Indeed it is a mark of how far they have come under Ranieri that the Italian admits he was disappointed to not take all the points on offer at the King Power Stadium, as only one of his pre-game objectives was accomplished.

“I asked to my players in the meeting session two things. One, win the match. And second help Jamie to achieve the record,” said Ranieri.

“We drew the match but I am pleased as the performances was very good. It is a very, very good group. It is one of the best groups that I have found in my career so far.

“The camaraderie is fantastic. I think this is the secret — the spirit. They fight for each other and that is good.”

Considering Ranieri has managed the likes of Atletico Madrid, Chelsea and Juventus it is perhaps startling to hear him label his Leicester squad as one of the best groups of players he ever worked with. But, on Saturday’s evidence, and this season it is hard to argue against. Without doubt you would be hard pressed to find a closer group than that at the King Power.

Such a point was summed up after the game when the Leicester players presented Vardy with a signed shirt from the whole squad to congratulate him on his achievement.

Vardy’s record may have been an individual one but it in true Foxes’ fashion it was a team effort.

LEICESTER:

Schmeichel 7; Simpson 6 (80 De Laet 6), Huth 7, Morgan 7, Fuchs 8; Mahrez 8, Kante 7, Drinkwater 6, Albrighton 7 (70 Schlupp 6); Okazaki 5 (60 Ulloa 5), Vardy 8.

Subs not used:

Schwarzer, King, Inler, Dyer.

MANCHESTER UNITED:

De Gea 6; Darmian 5, McNair 6, Smalling 8, Blind 5; Carrick 6, Schweinsteiger 7; Martial 6, Mata 6, Young; Rooney 6 (68 Depay 6).

Subs not used:

Romero, Borthwick-Jackson, Fellaini, Pereira, Schneiderlin, Rashford.

Referee:

Craig Pawson.

Attendance:

32,115

More in this section

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox