Jamie Vardy’s rise to prominence at Leicester City is one of modern day football’s fairytales.
At the age of 24, he was still playing for Fleetwood Town in the National League.
It is rare to see someone play at the level and still be able to make it at the very top, but that is exactly what the now 33-year-old has done. Leicester City did pay £1m for his services following his impressive performances for the North West outfit, but he has since paid that amount back, and then some.
His 24 goals in the Premier League in 2015/16 help the Foxes lift the title, just 12 months after they had been on the brink of relegation to the Championship.
This season, as Brendan Rodgers’ side have risen towards the top of the division once again, Vardy has shown his quality, scoring 19 goals in 26 games in the top flight – no other player has managed more.
Surprisingly, though, Leicester have not always performed fantastically with him in the starting XI, and they have perhaps been better without him.
His comparative win percentage certainly makes for interesting reading.
The centre-forward has, of course, played the vast majority of games this season – he is their star striker, after all. Whilst they have won 13 times with him in the side, though, they have also lost on seven occasions in all competitions.
Some of those defeats are certainly explainable. Two of them came against Liverpool, who have only lost one game all season in the Premier League and lead the division by a huge 25 points, whilst they were also defeated twice by Manchester City, who currently sit second and are the current champions.
However, losses against the likes of Southampton and Burnley are certainly worth noting as well – they are matches Leicester would expect to win.
Most games in which Vardy has been given a day off from starting XI action have been in the cup competitions, games you would expect them to win.
They played Luton and Burton in the early rounds of the League Cup, which ended in wins for Leicester, whilst Wigan, Brentford and Birmingham were all defeated in the FA Cup, as well, without the former England international on the teamsheet.
In the league, he was missing from the first XI in four matches, and Leicester were victorious in three of them. Granted, he did come on against Aston Villa in the last game before the suspension – and he scored twice – but 2-1 and 3-0 victories against West Ham and Newcastle respectively came without him. They were beaten by bottom side Norwich when he was unavailable through injury.
All in all, they have won eight and lost just two of the 10 matches in which has either been on the bench or out of the action all together.
This, of course, is not to say that Leicester are a better side without Vardy – it is hard to see them being in the Champions League spots without his goals – and the calibre of opponent against which he has played means that the law of averages indicate they will struggle to win all of those games.
That, though, does not mean the stat is not relevant. It does show, at the very least, that Rodgers has a certain amount of squad depth at his disposal, which explains their success in all competitions this term – they also made the semi-finals of the League Cup and are in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.