Why Jamie Vardy Deserves to Win the Premier League Player of the Year Award

Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy has been a constant standout performer for Leicester | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Despite a somewhat disappointing finish to the season for Leicester, dropping out of the third place spot they'd held for so long and somehow managing to finish fifth, there are still a lot of positives they can take from the campaign.

The club is continually moving in the right direction and the appointment of a top class manager in Brendan Rodgers was a statement of intent. They've got a solid spine of talent and their recruitment is consistent, which has allowed them to break the status quo of the traditional 'top six'.

None of this would've been possible, however, without Jamie Vardy.

The Red Bull-chugging, look-a-like loathing catchphrase king - yes, you know the one - has been an absolute goalscoring machine for Leicester ever since they returned to the top flight in 2014.

A part of the Premier League 100 Club, many would've thought that Vardy, who had to work his way up to such heights from non-league football, would have needed to be replaced as the talisman by now, but his 23 league goals this season have defied the odds once more and cemented his legacy as one of the Premier League's best forwards.

Perhaps if the Foxes had held onto their Champions League qualification spot and there weren't several Liverpool players in contention for the award by default, Vardy would be considered a more natural contender – but the success of others and his team's failure to perform in 2020 shouldn't weigh down his chances in the running for the Premier League Player of the Year Award.

Jamie Vardy
Vardy is seemingly getting better with age | Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

At 33, Vardy has managed to hit 20+ league goals in a season in three of his last five campaigns. In the two where he didn't, he managed 18 and 13 goals, hardly a poor record by any means. He's also provided five assists in the league this season, in case he was in danger of being labelled 'just' a goalscorer.

A senior figure among the squad - and a Premier League winner - Vardy is a vital piece of the jigsaw at the King Power. While many would perhaps view the award being given to him as a stats-only approach thanks to his Golden Boot, that wouldn't be fair.

He was given the award in the season that Leicester defied the odds and won the league, and rightly so, but another one would put any arguments to bed that suggest he isn't one of the best Premier League strikers ever.

While in that iconic 2015/16 season Vardy broke the record for scoring in 11 consecutive Premier league games, he came close to matching it in the first half of this season, scoring in ten straight. Despite narrowly missing out on equalling his own record, scoring in 10 consecutive Premier League games at 33 is an unbelievable feat. He bagged a hat-trick in doing so, too, during Leicester's 9-0 embarrassment of Southampton in October 2019. Funnily enough, his trio of goals helped to break another record, for the largest ever Premier League away win.

People will be quick to put Vardy's success down to his blistering pace on the counter-attack. While that is a key element of his game - even at 33 - there's much more to him than that. He understands the role of the striker like few others; he can score with any part of his body and make it look easy, and his range of finishing is unbelievable.

Be it striking one from outside the box, tapping in a rebound or slotting home a penalty, the retired England international is a complete finisher. His reading of the game allows him to pick up the perfect starting position, which makes it easy for teammates to slot the ball into his path and let him through onto goal.

It's exactly these attributes that go unnoticed - and perhaps ignored - because Vardy is routinely stereotyped as the typical working class funnyman from England. It's a cliche to say that he would be held in a higher regard if he was foreign, but it also probably wouldn't be wrong.

Leicester will have to work on strengthening in a number of areas this summer to ensure they make good on their progress in recent seasons, but thanks to Vardy, they don't have to worry about finding a goalscorer.

The Englishman is continuing to prove that age is just a number, and his Golden Boot this season is testament to his hard work and qualities on the pitch. Winning the Player of the Year award would be the culmination of another incredible season for the underdog.

It's going to be difficult jousting with a number of Liverpool players - who have been pretty much perfect all season - for the award, but should Jamie Vardy win the 2019/20 Player of the Year, he deserves to celebrate in style. This means presenting it to him on a podium in the King Power Stadium and having two cans of Red Bull thrown at him from the stands, so he can celebrate like a peak 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin.