Premier League top scorer after 12 games. Scoring in 9 consecutive games, breaking the Premier League record for one season. Transfer rumours to Liverpool, Spurs, Man United, Dortmund, Barcelona and Real Madrid. Fantasy Football star and one of the most talked about players in the Premier League at the moment, famous for his non-league roots. And now valued at £15 million. How good is he?
I’m like a lot of people. I like to talk about football. Debates with my friends are a daily occurrence whether it’s about fantasy football, who’s better or how a team should play. One Liverpool supporting friend said to me at the end of the 2014/15 season that Vardy is good and should play more international football. I instantly disagreed. People were under the illusion that he scored a lot for Leicester last year. He scored 5 goals (0.2 goals/90). Nothing special. Kane scored 0.73 per game, Rooney a low 0.38 and Danny Ings 0.33.
Before I begin my analysis I want to briefly talk about Vardy’s past if you don’t know it already.
He was released by Sheffield Wednesday’s youth academy at 16 and joined non-league Stocksbridge Park Steels. He went on to score 66 in 107 games earning £30 a week through football and working in a factory as his everyday job. His performances impressed league clubs and he got a trial at Crewe that never materialised and was offered a short deal at Rotherham which he rejected. Moved to Halifax Town, scoring 29 in 41, winning the Northern Premier Title and Player’s Player Award.
Hardy moved to Fleetwood Town in the Conference for an undisclosed fee. They won the conference, taking them to the football league for the first time in the club’s history while Vardy scored 31 in 36 games. Blackpool boss Ian Holloway offered £750,000 for him but was rejected wanting £1 million. Nigel Pearson broke the non-league transfer record paying an initial £1 million for Vardy’s services. The deal adds to about £1.7 million with add ons. This is now his third season with Leicester.
Through his career he’s played 307 games scoring 167 goals. Resulting in a 0.54 goals per game average. Not very accurate because I don’t know about his minutes of his stat would only improve.
I’ve spoken about the player analysis system I use here. And here was Vardy’s last season. Not impressive at all. Collected a good amount of assists and rarely got dispossessed. He did and continues to lose the ball often due to his low pass completion rate. His shot on target % is good but he had 1.4 shots/90 so he didn’t get many chances. Whether that’s his fault, his team’s or manager’s is another question. Not someone who should be considered a regular international going by his radar. It’s worth noting half his assists came in one game (5-3 win vs United) and that I explain why he is dispossessed so little later.
Here is his radar for the 2015/16 season after 12 games.
You can’t deny Vardy is in amazing form and performing well. But he seems to be a goal scorer and a prolific at that, however the rest of the radar is lacking. Reminds me of Christian Benteke’s radar and Harry Kane’s from 2014/15. The area of his radar is good but only 5 points. The top four points contribute to each other and in the style section of this article I can explain why he doesn’t get dispossessed.
Harry Kane – 2014/15
Christian Benteke – 2014/15
Clearly finishing shooting is his speciality while this season playmaking isn’t there. Watching his 12 goals they’re great finishes. He’s an instinctual player and a good finisher. But he doesn’t rely on skill to score goals. He makes runs and gets in the right place. He’s also a decent penalty taker (the radar is slightly wrong in that it says ‘Non-Penalty Goals’ but I counted in penalties). His goals contain a maximum of about 4 or 5 touches as he speeds towards goal. Doesn’t dribble at players often (0.9 times/90 this season) but uses his good pace to make powerful runs through gaps and collects throughballs (usually from Mahrez) and score. I don’t express speed on my radars but it is one of his main attributes.
I have a lot of ideals about how, if I was a manager, how I’d want my players to be. And Jamie Vardy would be some one I’d look at a lot but not necessarily buy. What I love about him is his toughness, work rate and defensive contribution from a striker. Vardy is the hardest working player on the pitch and constantly making runs and closing down defenders and putting them under pressure. Winning the ball back in the final third is the most effective way of creating chances, especially against defenders who don’t have composure and are inclined to clear it or you can make the tackle and regain possession. In this video Gary Neville talks about why he likes Vardy and you can see some examples of what I’ve described.
Vardy’s style of play means he doesn’t get dispossessed because he doesn’t hold onto the ball. He hardly dribbles so its unlikely defenders have the chance to tackle him. He does lose the ball due to his poor passing rate, but averages 18.2 attempted passes per 90 and 13.7 last season. Rooney has averaged 38.5 passes/90 and Kane 23.2 this season.
I dislike all the current hype about Vardy but I admire his form but he is goalscorer and a workhorse but not much else. I wouldn’t pay £15 million for him. If anyone does then to me it shows the inefficiency of transfer spending in football even further. I, along with many others, love his story of coming from Non-League on £30 a week to England’s top flight. I like his attitude (except the racism) and style of play but he has to fit your system. And he does Leicester’s perfectly. He would fit into Tony Pulis’s Stoke and Martinez’s Wigan but could never cope in an Arsenal or Barcelona side. Overall, with the current hype and talk about him he is clearly overrated by a lot of people.