LEICESTER, April 12 – Jamie Vardy has revealed the bizarre secret behind his bid to be the Premier League’s top scorer, Claudio Ranieri has banned him from shooting practice.
The England striker has scored 21 goals this season, one less than Tottenham’s Harry Kane, despite having to sit out most of the shooting drills on Leicester’s training ground because manager Ranieri wants him to rest his legs for match day.
Vardy said: ‘I don’t really get the chance to practise that much on my finishing, because when we have shooting drills it is quite early in the week when the gaffer is wanting us to rest our legs.
‘So normally when there is a bit of shooting practice, the gaffer tells me to go in! But I will keep doing that if it means I am saving them for the games.’
Leicester’s players have been tight-lipped on the potential for claiming a most incredible title, but their victory at Sunderland felt pivotal and the team are beginning to open up.
‘It would be brilliant,’ said midfielder Danny Drinkwater. ‘Just to get over that line knowing you’ve won the Premier League would be massive.’
Drinkwater picked out Vardy for the opening goal at the Stadium of Light with a typically accurate long pass and said their partnership verged on the telepathic.
‘You can utilise his pace and it is a massive asset in our team,’ said Drinkwater. ‘The majority of times you don’t need to look. You just know he is going to be on the move and if the pass is right then it is going to cause defenders problems. It works, it scores us goals, so why stop?’
Vardy added: ‘As long as I know the rough area of where it’s going to go, I’ll be on my bike and chasing the ball down.’
As well as revealing his lack of work on finishing, Vardy named Robert Huth as the reason that training sessions at Belvoir Drive frequently feature smiling faces.
An uncompromising defender on the pitch, the German also has a comedic streak.
‘In the warm-up there are sprint contests around different mannequins, and Huthy for some reason has ended up in the top group. I don’t know how,’ said Vardy.
‘If he gets round the mannequins first and puts his arm out then that’s it, you’re not going to get past him. So we are always having a laugh and a joke about it.
‘That is how we are, everyone is relaxed. The gaffer wants it to be like that.’
There is a serious side to Leicester, of course. Five successive wins without conceding illustrates remarkable strength of mentality and Drinkwater insists that will not be broken in the next five games.
Personally, he is drawing on his emergence through the Manchester United academy.
‘One thing they taught you as a youngster was to keep focused on the job,’ he said.
‘My upbringing at that club is something that is going to stand me in good stead.’
‘The win at Sunderland keeps the momentum going. It is another big step towards the aim.
‘It was one more game to knock off the list. It is just another step closer to the dream.
‘We can take it game by game and I can’t see it changing any time soon until we’ve done it. It is something we’ve done all season, whether we’ve been in title contention or not.’