When Sheffield Wednesday decided to release Jamie Vardy in 2002, no-one would have predicted the twists and turns that the forward would go on to experience during his career.
After joining the Stockbridge Park Steels a year later, he impressed for the non-league outfit over a number of seasons before eventually moving onto Halifax Town where he took his game to new heights by firing in 25 goals in 37 games as the club achieved promotion to the Conference North in 2011.
With his performances for the Shayman earning him a switch to Fleetwood Town, Vardy achieved a breakthrough season at Highbury Stadium as he found the back of the net on 34 occasions in the National League which attracted interest from a whole host of clubs.
Yet after Blackpool had an approach for the forward rejected, Leicester City secured his services by agreeing a £1m deal with the Trawlermen in 2012 (via BBC Sport).
Although paying such a hefty fee for a non-league player was considered a risk at the time, given the scale of Vardy’s contributions for the Foxes in recent years, it is safe to say that this particular transfer was somewhat of a masterstroke.
After helping Leicester achieve promotion to the Premier League in 2014 by scoring 16 goals in the second tier, the 32-year-old played a key role in helping the club secure a remarkable survival under then-boss Nigel Pearson.
Following the club’s decision to replace the former Southampton manager with Claudio Ranieri, Vardy set the top-flight alight with a plethora of incredible performances which culminated in the Foxes storming their way to the title in 2016.
Although his team-mates N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez would eventually leave the King Power Stadium, Vardy’s loyalty to Leicester has seen him become a modern-day hero in the East Midlands. By finishing the 2018/19 Premier League campaign with a total of 18 goals, the former England international took his total for the club to 107 in all competitions.
Despite not knowing it at the time, then-Owls boss Terry Yorath clearly made a mistake in letting Vardy leave Hillsborough 17 years ago as there is no reason why he couldn’t have replicated his heroics for his boyhood club.
Wednesday fans, how impressed have you been with Vardy’s career since he left your club in 2002? Join the discussion by commenting below.
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