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Can Vardy become One Of The World’s Best?

June 29, 2016

- Grant Whittington

When Jamie Vardy arrived on the scene at half-time against Wales, the fate of England’s Group B campaign was hanging in the balance. We should perhaps not have been surprised that the Leicester striker was ultimately the man to draw the Three Lions level, however, especially given his monumental rise from journeyman to superstar.

Vardy scored just eight minutes into the second half against the Welsh, which was in-keeping with his incredible growth and journey over the course of the last 18 months.  Obviously, it didn’t quite come off throughout the rest of the tournament. Opposition defences sat too deep and England were unable to utilise the speed which grabs him so many goals for the Foxes. This alone raises the question, can he become a great with a game that relies so much on speed?

Why Vardy may struggle to become a true great

That was proved against Iceland given the deep-lying nature of them and the lack of the space that they leave in behind their defence. Vardy struggled to have an impact against a similarly set-up Slovakian defence, as despite his willing running and ability to press from the front he was unable to regularly threaten the opposition, which raises concern for the following season, with teams now wise as how to quell him.

While Vardy excelled last season for surprise champions Leicester, he did so in a devastating counter-attacking unit that often played against high and loose defensive lines. Leicester are unlikely to find the opposition so accommodating next season, with many determined to sit deeper and deny Vardy the space he needs to thrive in. Although his hold-up play is more than adequate, it is questionable whether he has the footballing intelligence, diversity and movement to continually perform among the elite.

The former Fleetwood Town striker is also 29 now, meaning that he has already arrived at his peak as a professional.

How long can Vardy continue to party?

Perhaps this is why Vardy chose to turn down a move to Arsenal, where he would most probably be required to operate in a wider role and a more progressive, possession-based side. Instead he chose to remain with the Foxes, perhaps acknowledging that he can only continue to excel with a side that plays directly to his strengths.

This is open to conjecture, of course, but for now it is fair to surmise that Vardy’s party may not continue long into the brand new season.

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