Jamie Vardy names Chris Smalling as his toughest opponent this season

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Football News

When Jamie Vardy was asked who his toughest opponent has been this season, it must have been a difficult question to answer.

That’s because the striker has embarrassed Premier League defences throughout the campaign, scoring an incredible 19 goals.

Not a single defender appears to be able to stop the 29-year-old, especially during his record-breaking goalscoring run which saw him score in 11 consecutive matches - breaking Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record.

His impressive tally means that the England international tops the league's goalscoring charts by three and those goals have helped Leicester in their incredible title challenge.

However, despite being seemingly untouchable this campaign, Vardy has named the one player that has been his toughest to face this season.

"On a personal level, Chris Smalling," he told Betfair. "He’s always tight and always around you to stop you from doing your bit on the ball or getting turned.

"It makes it very difficult for you to bring your team-mates into the game as well.”

Despite Vardy admitting he found it difficult playing against Smalling, he still managed to score against his United side when Leicester drew 1-1 with the Red Devils earlier this season.

In fact, Vardy’s goal in that match was the record-breaking strike - his 11th match in a row where he found the net.

But his decision to pick Smalling is understandable. The 26-year-old defender has been one of very few positives during a disappointing campaign at Old Trafford and has shown leadership qualities in the back four in Louis van Gaal’s side.

Vardy will face Smalling for the second time this season when the Foxes travel to the Theatre of Dreams on April 30. There will only be two matches remaining in the league after this fixture, so Vardy will be desperate to get the better of Smalling as he looks to complete the unbelievable fairytale story of Leicester winning the title.

Vardy's Hollywood story

However, Vardy’s story is more Hollywood than fairytale.

He was released from his hometown club Sheffield Wednesday as a 16-year-old before joining Stockbridge Park Steels where he earned just £30-a-week.

Moves to Halifax Town and then Fleetwood Town followed before Leicester snapped him up for £1 million in May 2012.

But it wasn’t until this season that Vardy hit the headlines with his sensational record-breaking season.

Hollywood film screenwriter Adrian Butchart has met up with Vardy and his agent as he looks to direct the incredible story of Vardy's meteoric rise.

England teammates

Both Smalling and Vardy are likely to be heading to France together as part of Roy Hodgson’s England squad for this summer’s European Championships.

They will both be hoping they can continue their impressive domestic campaigns on the international stage as the Three Lions go in search of their first major trophy for 60 years.

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