Amidst the monotony and sheer boredom of the Ireland v England friendly there was a tale of optimism to be found for all fledgling footballers.
In the 75th minute of the game England’s captain Wayne Rooney was replaced by Jamie Vardy and the Leicester City forward’s journey from a part-time player to a wearer of the Three Lions was complete.
Rejected as a 15-year-old by his beloved Sheffield Wednesday, Vardy took the long road to success starting with Wickersley Youth. He performed so well against Stocksbridge that they signed him up.
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66 goals in 107 appearances drew the attention of Halifax and in his one season at the club he scored an impressive twenty nine goals in forty one games. That was to be his only season with The Shaymen as Fleetwood Town swooped to spend one hundred and fifty thousand pounds to sign him. It was a club record and he made it look like a bargain.Vardy scored thirty one goals in an impressive season and Nigel Pearson was convinced of his potential so much that he soon signed the striker for one million pound. In the last three years Vardy has gone from strength to strength and the highlight of his season was his display in the home victory against Manchester United where he ran their defence ragged.
Throw in a tale of Vardy protecting the honour of a friend with hearing difficulties, culminating in him having to wear a tag and observe a curfew and you get a sense of the type of man he is. Thirteen years after his dream of professional football seemed to have been curtailed, Jamie Vardy has reached heights that the teenager who was told he was too small could only have dreamed of. It is a story that can inspire many of today’s young footballers that get released from their respective clubs. Through hard work and determination you can prove your doubters wrong and still rise to the top.