Sports Personality of the Year: Jamie Vardy's sensational 2016

Sports Personality of the Year: Jamie Vardy's sensational 2016

It was a memorable 2015-16 for Jamie Vardy, he achieved everything any English footballer would ever dream of and inspired everyone with his performances

ninad-barbadikar
Ninad Barbadikar

2016 was a historic year for many a reasons, so many wonderful stories, emphatic achievements and so much to be excited about.

Although, without a doubt, one of the most inspiring stories of the year was that of Jamie Vardy, Leicester City's history-making goalscorer.

Leicester's title triumph was an inspiring case of hardwork, determination and committment to the cause and Vardy was the epitome of all of those things that the club stood out for.

With the British Sports Personality of the Year 2016 awards just a week away, let's take a look at why the former Halifax Town man is a deserved winner of the award.

Looking back at Vardy's year

When Nigel Pearson's departure was announced, it was met with mixed reactions, some believed he deserved more time at the club, unlike the owners who felt the club needed to achieve more than what Pearson believed they could.

That summer, they turned to the Tinkerman Claudio Ranieri. The decision was met with initial criticism but the way the Italian set up his team built the foundation for a historic year for the Foxes.

Vardy was a key part of Leicester's late run of victories in the previous season and Ranieri kept faith in the former Fleetwood Town frontman and made him a regular starter in his starting eleven every week.

Vardy continued on the same note he was on last season and started off the season with a goal against Sunderland in a 4-2 victory on opening day for Leicester City. In just over a month, he already eclipsed his tally of 7 for the 2014/15 season and things were starting to look better and better for Ranieri's men.

Vardy the record breaker

Vardy made history when he broke Rudd Van Nistelrooy's long standing record of scoring in consecutive games and scored in his 11th straight game when Leicester drew against Manchester United at the King Power stadium. Another historic achievement for him was winning the player of the month acclaim in consecutive and becoming a part of a very exclusice bracket of players to have done so, the Vardy Party had just started for Leicester.

By April, Vardy's goals had helped Leicester achieve qualification to the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history and in the process, Vardy also broke Gary Lineker's goal record in the top division with this 21st goal.

Vardy ended the season with 24 goals, each of them valuable to Leicester's cause and in the end, celebrated winning the Premier League trophy with his teammates and family, he had achieved everything he could've ever wished for.

The individual honors came for him at the end of the season as he was voted the Premier League Player of the Season and also the Football Writers' Association player of the year after a stellar season with Leicester City.

Vardy not alone in his exploits

Vardy deserves a lot of credit for what he did, but he will tell you that his teammates had a huge role in his goal return for his club and none more than Riyad Mahrez will know that.

The Algerian was in stellar form for the club as well and achieved double digits in both goals and assists as he was voted the PFA Players' Player of the Year, a huge achievement for him indeed.

Vardy and Mahrez were a deadly duo last season

The combination of Vardy and Mahrez was a feature of the counter-attacking style that Ranieri had instilled into the players, Mahrez with his mesmerising dribbling skills and Vardy with his pace, caused havoc to even the meanest of defences and both players were huge contributors to Leicester's title triumph.

Another player that has to be appreciated is the hardworking Marc Albrighton, the former Aston Villa reinvented his career with the Foxes and put in some very excellent performances on the wings for the club. Albrighton's excellent crossing from the right wing was also another great source of goals for Vardy and his striker partners during the course of the season, Leonardo Ulloa and Shinji Okazaki.

England call up well deserved for Vardy

Vardy's progress at club level did not go unnoticed by then England manager Roy Hodgson as he called up the Leicester man to the national team and Vardy made his debut in a goalless draw against the Republic Of Ireland.

The call-up to the England squad was an achievement of great importance,personally, for Vardy. He had started out from the very bottom of English Fotball with Halifax Town and achieved the dream of every English footballer of playing for the Three Lions, with hardwork and relentless determination throughout his career.

Vardy's title winning exploits with Leicester got him included in the squad for Euro 2016. It was yet another achievement for the man from Sheffield, to be selected for his country for a major tournament after such a stellar season, few could argue that he did not deserve the call-up.

At the Euros, Vardy delivered when called upon and helped his country to a 2-1 victory against Chris Coleman's Wales, scoring the equaliser in the game. Prior to the tournament, Vardy also scored in a 3-2 victory against Germany and also scored the opener in England's 2-1 loss to the Netherlands.

Vardy's story an inspiration for non-league players

Ranieri hailed Vardy's form and his style of play and said, "He has great intensity, great concentration. He's got a strong mentality and never gives up. He's an inspiration with the way he is because then others believe.".

The fact that Vardy started his career all the way from non-league football and became a Premier League champion, speaks volumes of how many leaps and bounds the Leicester man has had to come across.

Vardy wanted to help non-league footballers get recognition and launched the V9 Academy, a week long camp for non-league players, where they were offered training and coaching and also opportunities to display their talent in front of Premier League scouts.

On a Personal level well, it was an eventful year for Vardy, his former non-league club Stocksbridge Park Steels named their main stand after him in recognition of his achievements as footballer and also as a tribute to Vardy. There was even talk of a biopic being made about Vardy, but nothing ever materialised.

All in all, 2016 was a year that Vardy would probably never forget and will always cherish the goals that he scored, the moments of magic that he gave to fans and most of all will always cherish the Premier League title he won with his teammates and if his work is recognised with the British Sports Personality of the Year 2016 award, it will be more than well deserved.

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