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Jamie Vardy: The Striker Whose Form Can Open Doors for Others

30/10/2015 15:27 GMT | Updated 28/10/2016 10:12 BST

The links to Real Madrid may be excessive and, in the nicest possible way, slightly humourous, but there would be something quite profound about Jamie Vardy turning up at Los Blancos' Ciudad training complex, most likely in some sort of Gio-Goi tracksuit, approaching the world's two most expensive footballers with the friendly yet incomprehensible Sheffield greeting, "alreyt lads".

On current form, and considering where he's come from - Stocksbridge Park Steels, then of the Nothern Premier League (Premier Division), to Leicester City, now of the actual Premier League - it would be hard to begrudge Vardy his shot at the big time, dismissing for a second the obvious off-field discrepancies that are difficult to condone.

Whether Vardy moves to a bigger club or not - Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool are two of the other names to be linked after he scored for the seventh game in succession, joining Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry and Ruud van Nistelrooy in an elite group of players to have done likewise - his legacy should be more than just the goalscoring run he's on at present.

For Vardy is symbolic of a trait that is all too uncommon in the modern game - trust - and should be the example that allows doors to open for similarly hungry footballers.

Despite playing a major role in Leicester's unheralded great escape of 2014-15, Vardy ended the campaign with five goals from 36 games in all competitions. To many that would be deemed an unsatisfactory tally, and Claudio Ranieri would have been well within his rights to offload the now England international, upon taking over from the sacked Nigel Pearson after 11 years away from the English game.

He certainly could have, with Aston Villa reported to have tried for Vardy's signature. Instead, and despite adding the £8m Japan international Shinji Okazaki to an attacking roster that cost in excess of £20m excluding Vardy, the Italian made him his main man up front. And the 28-year-old has already repaid his manager's faith, scoring for the 10th time this season in his last outing against Crystal Palace.

Hopefully, Ranieri's treatment of the former Fleetwood player will inspire other Premier League bosses to put faith in their own, seemingly unfashionable, talents - although that's perhaps easier said than done when most are dismissed more frequently than a change of underwear.

One who hasn't been afraid to stand by a struggling striker is Watford coach Quique Sanchez Flores. His captain, Troy Deeney, scored for the first time in the Premier League on Saturday, despite averaging between two and three shots per game so far, to no avail. Largely, Deeney has played well, creating three assists for the team in his previous nine matches, but his lack of goals would be enough for most managers to decide: enough is enough, let's try someone else.

The striker was understandably relieved after breaking his duck at Stoke, telling The Independent. "Now people can stop saying to the manager, 'Watford are doing well but Troy hasn't scored'. Maybe people will leave me alone for a couple of weeks and I can crack on with life and enjoy myself."

Deeney, like Vardy before him, had been prolific during his team's ascension to the Premier League. He also has as many goals after 10 matches at Vardy at the same stage, and is the same age (27) as his Leicester counterpart was then. He too, has had to scrap for the career he's had, starting as an amateur at Chelmsley Town before moving on to Walsall in League One. His confidence is refreshing.

"That's why Premier League teams have wanted to buy me for the last three years," added Deeney. "Sometimes, you have to roll your sleeves up, dig in and work hard and that's where people like me come into their own."

There are plenty more like him worthy of Premier League attention, but if clubs and managers aren't brave enough to trust them at the highest level then we'll never know how good they can be. Whether it's someone who's performed well consistently in the Championship (in striking terms, a Jordan Rhodes, Chris Martin or Benik Afobe), or those on the periphery of top flight squads.

Why is Patrick Bamford, who scored 17 times in the second tier last season, behind Connor Wickham and Fraizer Campbell in Alan Pardew's plans at Crystal Palace, for example? Why is James Wilson, one of the country's brightest prospects, being hoarded by Manchester United when he could be out playing games; being trusted to perform?

Remove the reins, bear with them and maybe, just maybe, Real Madrid will come calling.

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