Premier League legend praises former Non-League Leicester star

Kevin Phillips

Jamie Vardy won two penalties, registered an assist and netted the fourth goal against Manchester United on Sunday.

Kevin Phillips round off his career with the Foxes, spending a six-month spell as Nigel Pearson led his team to Championship glory.

A former Premier League top scorer, he remains the only Englishman to have won the European Golden Shoe, when he netted 30 goals in 36 games for Sunderland in the 1999/2000 season.

Since retiring from his long playing career, the 41-year-old has remained at the King Power Stadium as an attacking coach, and he has overseen the early season form that has returned nine goals in five games, including an incredibly tally of five in one game against Manchester United on Sunday.

Trailing 2-0 to the Premier League giants, Esteban Cambiasso, David Nugent and a Leonardo Ulloa brace brought parity, but it was the performance of former Non-League man Jamie Vardy which wowed Phillips, as the 27-year-old scored one assisted the remaining four goals.

Having signed for Leicester in May 2012 for a non league record fee of £1 million, Vardy has gone on to become a key figure for Nigel Pearson’s side, and Phillips wrote in his Sky Sports column how impressed he has been by the former Fleetwood man.

Phillips wrote: He made it [his goal] look easy but believe me, in a high-pressure situation like that, when you go through on goal knowing you’ve got a chance to score against Man United and potentially get the winner, to despatch it with such calmness shows the quality he’s got.

"And remember he’s been out all season, too - he only came back last week at Stoke. He was delighted with the goal and so was everyone on the Leicester bench.”

Vardy’s desire to find a winner, rather than settling for a draw at 3-3, is characteristic of the spirit that the Foxes showed in the promotion from the Championship, and Phillips is delighted with the work rate and commitment shown by the Leicester team.

He added: “For the third time this season, after going behind we responded within seconds. It was critical we got a goal straight back after going 2-0 down because that got us back in the game, got our tails up and we started to press them.

"We conceded again, though, and at 3-1 I wouldn't have blamed anyone watching at home who switched off thinking the game was over. Fortunately we have a never-say-die attitude in abundance here, as well as great work rate and commitment. We believed we could still create chances and the lads were outstanding.

"Then, how many teams who got back to 3-3 against United would sit back and settle for a point? That’s not in our make-up. We felt we could go on and win the game and I don’t think anyone could have any arguments if I said we thoroughly deserved to win it in the end.”

Leicester’s victory over the Red Devils moved them into seventh place, having won eight points from five games during an incredibly tough run of fixtures.

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