Rodgers praises Vardy as striker nears landmark goal

Date published: Saturday 14th December 2019 1:48 - Sam Charlton

Jamie Vardy deserves to be among the Premier League elite as he closes in on the 100 club, according to Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers.

The striker has scored 96 top-flight goals ahead of Saturday’s visit of Norwich.

He is also the Premier League’s top scorer with 16 having bagged a brace in Sunday’s 4-1 win over Aston Villa, which took him above Ruud Van Nistelrooy in the all-time standings.

Vardy, 33 next month, has scored in eight straight games – closing in on his own Premier League record of 11 – and only Lazio’s Ciro Immobile has scored more in Europe’s top five leagues this season with 17.

Rodgers said: “Jamie gives you that confidence because the evidence is there. The big strikers give you that confidence because they prove it on the field all the time.

“He loves scoring and is a natural goal scorer. There’s a real inherent belief he is going to score and that’s his makeup.

“I’ll be so happy once he does reach it, there’s no doubt he will. It’s just a matter of time. To do it with his journey has been remarkable. He’s a phenomenal player.

“He is a humble guy. For him to reach 100 goals in the timeline he’s had as a Premier League player is remarkable.”

Leicester sit second, eight points behind leaders Liverpool, after a club record of eight straight Premier League wins.

They host the Reds on Boxing Day, five days after travelling to face third-placed Manchester City, but Rodgers is keen to deflect any extra pressure.

“You focus on yourself, you do your job and prepare the team mentally in order to cope,” he said.

“The pressure will try to be put on but you have to just focus on your own game, control that and make sure the players go out and not think so much about winning but performing.

“You focus more with experience. Coming away from Liverpool was a great learning experience, evaluating everything, and when I went to Celtic I was able to take that mantra there.

“You never know what anyone else can bring and you can never look too far ahead. You lose at Christmas and does that end it?

“They are great stories to have for papers and TV but the reality is you have to be ready to bring your best game to the next one.”

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