London - Five facts on England striker Jamie Vardy after he spurned an offer from Arsenal and signed a new improved four-year deal with champions Leicester City on Thursday.
Vardy's rise to the top reflects his determined mindset. After being rejected by Sheffield Wednesday football club, as a 15-year-old for being too slight he started off at non league Stocksbridge Park Steels being paid a measly £30 (€38, $43) a week, earning extra cash by working in a factory making carbon-fibre splints but eventually had to leave because of the pressure it was placing on his back.
He left that school of hard knocks for Halifax Town for £15 000. This was followed by a move to Fleetwood Town, who in 2011 paid a quarter-of-a-million pounds for him. His 31 goals in 36 appearances for Fleetwood attracted the interest of then Leicester manager Nigel Pearson who splashed out a million pounds.
Steelsbridge have honoured him by naming their main stand after him. Not bad for a lad who failed to turn up for his first training session as the chairman Allen Bethell testified to the Daily Mail:
"Jamie played with us for a long time. He was in the reserves for three years and when he got called up for the first team, he missed the first training session because he was a bit frightened, but he turned up for the second one and he was one of the best players I've seen at this level."
Bethell said Vardy's fame - not to mention the £15 000 the club received from Halifax for him - has sparked great interest and publicity for the tiny club. Vardy's reaction, "The chairman must be crackers!"
SCRAPE WITH THE LAW
Vardy showed his dedication to making a career as a footballer when he would play for an hour for Steelsbridge before charging off the pitch and back home so he could make the curfew he had to observe for an assault outside a nightclub.
His chairman at the time Allen Bethell said 'he didn't start the fight but he definitely ended it' while Vardy, who also had to wear a tag for six months, said he was protecting a friend who was being needled for having a hearing aid.
He says he is far calmer these days and thanks to Becky, who is the mother of his two daughters Ella and Sofia. He married Becky in a lavish ceremony just after the season ended.
Vardy's extraordinary rise has attracted attention from Hollywood, the home of cinema and where so many young people travel to in the hope of realising their dream of sudden stardom. British-born producer and scriptwriter Adrian Butchart travelled over earlier this year and held talks with Vardy and his agent.
Butchart, who wrote the scripts for the first two 'Goal' films had even drawn up a short list of actors he would envisage playing the striker. "We are looking at a few actors. Zac Effron and Robert Pattinson are two favorites," he told the Mail Online in February. "However One Direction's Louis Tomlinson is also very much on our radar."
If it seemed a bit far-fetched Butchart put that to rest when he spoke to the Leicester Mercury in April. "This movie belongs as much to the people of Leicester as it does to us," said Butchart.
"When it comes to shooting the film we would like to have people participate in the movie in actual roles, walk on parts and stuff like that. We want the people in Leicester involved."
RUUD MESSAGE MEANT THE WORLD TO RECORDBREAKER
Vardy says the message that meant the most after he broke Dutch international marksman Ruud van Nistelrooy's record of goals in successive Premier League matches last season was from Van Nistelrooy himself. The Englishman set the new mark of 11 scoring the recordbreaking goal against ironically Van Nistelrooy's old club Manchester United last November.
"With Ruud van Nistelrooy holding the record before, you can't get much better than that - it was a brilliant message from him," Vardy told The Guardian.