Belfast Telegraph

Ronald Koeman hails the rise of Jamie Vardy

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has hailed Jamie Vardy's rise from non-league striker to England international as a "crazy story".

The Dutchman described the meteoric rise of the Leicester front man, who four years ago was playing in the fifth tier of English football for Fleetwood, as an inspiration to young lower-league players.

Koeman, whose Southampton side travel to the King Power Stadium on Sunday, said: " It's a crazy story and that gives everybody a good ambition.

"If you work hard, if you develop yourself, then you can be a big player.

"Even if you start in the lower league then there is always something possible, I think he has shown everyone that.

"He is a crazy story, but it is great."

He added: "If he doesn't score Sunday, he can score hat-tricks every game no problem with me."

Leicester top the Barclays Premier League table with just seven games of the season to go, with Tottenham their closest challengers.

And Koeman is pleased to see the division's big-spending sides for once not having things all their own way.

He said: "It is one, maybe two, teams who are being regular and that is Tottenham and Leicester and the other teams are making too many mistakes.

"It is nice to see. It is not all about money. That is good, if you create a good team spirit, if you have a really good organisation in your team...we showed that last year like they have this season.

"We had a little experience last season where we had a good run in a high place, but we didn't keep it up until the end of the season and Leicester are showing that they will fight for the title until the end of the season and that is amazing."


From Belfast Telegraph