Leicester City need Jamie Vardy to play better
There have been quite a few theories tossed about as to why Leicester City are struggling this season. From the loss of N’Golo Kante to the simple wearing off of the fairy tale, the ideas have been plentiful. One theory that’s been underreported, is the issue of Jamie Vardy’s poor play.
The English striker was brilliant for Claudio Ranieri last season, but he’s been a below average Premier League striker during the first eight matches of this campaign. If the Foxes are going to climb the league table, they’re going to need significantly better play from their offensive talisman.
Vardy does have two goals in his eight starts, but his overall level of play just hasn’t been there. His Whoscored.com player rating average of 6.63 illustrates just how far off the pace he’s been. He still has the ability to hammer opponents with his pace, but the rest of his game just hasn’t been there this season.
Frankly, I’m surprised the rest of the media hasn’t made more of an issue out of Vardy’s sub par play. Tottenham striker Harry Kane earned plenty of negative press for his slow start to the season. In sharp contrast, Vardy continues to live on the accomplishments of 2015-16.
I’m not suggesting that Vardy isn’t a good player, or that Ranieri should bench him. What I am suggesting, is that it’s time to turn the page on the striker’s accomplishments from last season. If Leicester are going to rise from the bottom half of the Premier League table, Vardy needs to be a leader with his words and play.
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To do so, he may need to start working a little harder on the defensive end of the pitch. It’s clear the Foxes miss N’Golo Kante’s ability to break up play, and that’s cost Leicester valuable time on the football. Instead of waiting to be a recipient of a midfielder’s pass, Vardy needs to work on winning the ball back on his own.
If he can manage that, he can look to initiate quick give-and-go’s with his teammates. Then, he can use his electric pace to create scoring opportunities for his side. The simple reality is that Leicester City need more out of Vardy since Kante’s not there to help.
It may not be fair to Jamie Vardy that his club need more out of him this year. He gave them everything he had for last season’s magical run to a Premier League title. That was last year though, if Leicester are going to be good again, they need far better play from Vardy.