If you’re wearing golden boots, the expectation is that you will deliver. Jamie Vardy took that questionable sartorial decision on Saturday evening. However, he also did the necessary deed and an extraordinary tale gathered yet another chapter. He already shared the Premier League record of scoring in ten successive games with Ruud van Nistelrooy.
So, it was fitting that it was against Manchester United, with their travelling support singing old songs in praise of their legendary Dutch striker, that the Sheffield Wednesday reject and alumnus of Stocksbridge Park Steels, the man who was still playing non-league football three years ago, chose to go one better. He simply sprinted across and in behind a startled Matteo Darmian, took one touch and crashed it past David De Gea.. The stadium fairly erupted as Vardy raced off to celebrate, dashing briefly past the United fans, pointing at his chest. After all, he’s the main man now.
‘In the team meeting before the game I asked my players two things,’ said Claudio Ranieri afterwards. ‘Firsty, win the game. And secondly, help Jamie to achieve the record. Well, we drew the match and we’re very happy with the record. It’s a great achievement. I signed his shirt afterwards and wrote on it what a great record it was. I heard Bastian Schweinsteiger say that he is like Miroslav Klose and that’s right because he’s just as important to us as Klose was to the German national team.’
And he is, but this is much-more than a one-man show. Leicester may now have to share top spot with Manchester City after this draw, but their resilience as we approach December is remarkable. They were magnificent in that first half, when United reverted to their stuttering, shapeless alter ego. And when United improved, as they were almost bound too, Leicester proved equal to their defensive task.
‘I’m very disappointed,’ said Louis van Gaal. ‘When you want to champion at the end of the season, and we want that, the players want that, the manager wants that, the fans want that, then you have to win this kind of games.’