Football

Vardy's back with a bang

Ranieri hails Vardy after striker ends drought with first hat-trick for Foxes

Jamie Vardy admitted that he was relieved to end his goal drought and get Leicester back on track as the striker's hat-trick inspired a 4-2 win against Manchester City yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Vardy brought a halt to his 16-game barren run in spectacular fashion as the England international clinically converted all three of his shots at the King Power Stadium to net his first hat-trick for Leicester.

It was also Vardy's first treble since 2012 when he was playing for Fleetwood against Ebbsfleet in non-league football.

Vardy's life has changed hugely since then and, asked if he could recall his previous hat-trick, the Premier League title winner said: "I'm guessing it was for Fleetwood, against Ebbsfleet?

"I think I scored an audacious halfway-line shot as well."

Vardy is now Leicester's all-time leading Premier League scorer as his 34 goals took him ahead of Emile Heskey.

I’m guessing it was for Fleetwood, against Ebbsfleet?Leicester’s Jamie Vardy, trying to recall his last hat-trick, which he scored while playing for Fleetwood Town in the 2011/2012 season while they were in the fifth tier of English football

STANDING OVATION

But the 29-year-old, who left the pitch to a standing ovation when he was substituted in the closing stages, was more concerned with the impact his goals could have on Leicester after a disappointing run had seen them fall dangerously close to the relegation zone.

"You can definitely say that. We wanted to make sure we were competitive and see the team fighting for the cause and we definitely showed that," Vardy said.

"We will just get back on the training pitch and look forward to the next game."

After hinting that Vardy was in danger of losing his place and then resting him for the midweek Champions League defeat by Porto, Foxes boss Claudio Ranieri was delighted to see his star back on the goal trail.

"I'm very pleased for Jamie, when he finished I said, 'Oh welcome back'," said Ranieri.

"Vardy played so well and it is important for him to get back.

"He never told me, 'I need to score', never. But I know scorers need to score goals.

"I said to all my players it is important what we do for the team and everybody made a fantastic performance.

"And, of course, Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani did something different.

"I don't know if Vardy can go on a run but I hope so - if he scores, we get the points."

INQUEST

Ranieri added that a post-Porto inquest helped to inspire the Foxes to their victory over City.

"We spoke a lot about everything but, this time, the words go in the right direction, not only mine. The players contributed," Ranieri said.

"We must be upset with our performance (in Porto) because it wasn't good enough and the fans are always behind us. It's important to say, 'We are here'.

"We can tell it's a turning point in two or three months, now it's too early.

"For this reason, I want to wait for the next two matches. It's important the players feel better, with more confidence because we can do this.

"Now, forget the Champions League and put our brain on the Premier League." - WIRE SERVICES

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