Fair play to Jamie Vardy.
The Leicester City striker could have sat back and enjoyed his rollercoaster ride without giving a second thought to the talented non-league players who, like him, were desperately seeking that big break into the professional game.
But Vardy, despite some of the unfair criticism he’s received since becoming a household name, has shown he’s a thoroughly decent guy by splashing out £100,000 of his own money in the hope of finding the next Jamie Vardy.
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According to the Telegraph’s report earlier this month, 42 non-league footballers were invited to Manchester City’s incredible training complex on June 5 for Vardy’s V9 Academy.
Scouts from every English league, plus Germany and the Netherlands, turned up to watch the hopefuls play in various matches - including games against Welsh clubs TNS and Bangor City.
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Jamie Vardy has found the next Jamie Vardy
And one of the auditioning players has now earned himself a contract with League Two side Stevenage FC.
That’s right: Jamie Vardy has actually managed to find the next Jamie Vardy.
So, who is he?
His name’s Danny Newton, he’s 26 years old, and last season he banged in 34 goals for Tamworth in the Conference North.
Like England international Vardy, Newton worked in a factory - in Leicester, incidentally - and has been forced to juggle his day job with part-time football.
Watch: Danny Newton in action
You can watch some of his goals from this season in this YouTube video…
Looks decent, doesn’t he.
“When John Morris, my agent [and the V9 academy co-founder] told me that Danny had received an offer from Stevenage I was buzzing,” Vardy was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. “He was one of the first players that we recruited to the academy and he seems to have had a similar journey to myself.”
Vardy’s agent added: “The academy has proved that there are league players within the non-leagues.
“Danny is a great example that it is never too late to fulfil your dream of being a professional footballer.”
Rebekah Vardy congratulates Newton
Vardy’s wife Rebekah congratulated Newton on Twitter following the brilliant news on Monday.
“Congrats Danny!” she tweeted. “Wishing you all the best at @StevenageFC P.s bio change 😊#V9academy”
Newton replied: “Thankyou to you and Jamie for the opportunity @V9Academy I'll change the bio now 😃“
All the best, Danny!
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