Jamie Vardy double secures Championship title for Leicester amid uncertainty over future

Leicester celebrate - Jamie Vardy double secures Championship title for Leicester amid uncertainty over future
Leicester win the Championship title at Deepdale - PA/ Nick Potts

The future of Jamie Vardy hangs very much in the balance with newly-promoted Leicester City but, if these were his last two goals after a dozen years with the club, they at least guaranteed the significant reward of the Championship title.

And it was a performance that, for the very first time had manager Enzo Maresca tantalisingly hinting that the veteran will stay at the club after promotion.

“The target was to finish the right way, now we are finished and we have as game Saturday,” said Maresca. “Then we sit but my feeling is he is going to stay. That is my feeling. If I decide [it] he will stay.”

Ten years on from scoring 16 times in helping Leicester reach the Premier League, the former England striker made it 18 for this campaign as he returned them whence they came.

If this is the end of one of the most enduring, and successful, working relationships in recent football history, it is as good a way as any for the parties to split.

There was certainly a mood of mutual appreciation from the 5,700 travelling fans, presumably 72 hours into celebrations which would have begun on Friday after Leeds’ surprising defeat at QPR promoted their team, and which carried on for a long time after the final whistle of this perfunctory end of season stroll.

Jamie Vardy - Jamie Vardy double secures Championship title for Leicester amid uncertainty over future
Jamie Vardy's 17th and 18th Championship goals this season secure the title with a game to spare - Getty Images/Alex Livesey

A party had taken place at Maresca’s house on Friday evening, and really got going when players arrived at 2am according to the manager, but there was no hangover about this thoroughly lethal performance.

Financial issues, relating to financial fair play regulations, await Leicester but, for now, Marseca insists his players deserve their moment of celebration.

“The last two days they enjoyed a lot,” he said. “I told them they need to enjoy it because they worked very hard to enjoy moments like this.”

The only “negative” on the night was the fact Vardy failed to claim a first hat-trick since September 2020, scored at Manchester City no less, with Freddie Woodman’s diving stop on 65 minutes denying him.

But the game was long over by then, thanks to Vardy, who shot their team into a 38th minute lead, at the end of a sharp passing move in the area involving Abdul Fatawu and Yunus Akgun.

Vardy had time to swivel and produce a shot which bobbled into the bottom corner of the Preston goal. The hosts looked finished, for the night and the season, but Vardy most certainly was not.

Leicester City chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha celebrates securing the Championship title - Getty Images
Leicester City chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha pays tribute to his late father after winning the Championship title at Deepdale - PA/ Nick Potts

On 52 minutes, Wout Faes struck the ball against the post and Woodman’s head before it rebounded to the unmarked Vardy who lashed it into the goal before Kasey McAteer’s header completed the rout after 67 minutes.

“I feel fresh. I look after myself. I’m fortunate enough where I can put all the recovery stuff in my house. I’ll carry on doing it,” said Vardy.  “I’ll look forward to next week now and see what happens.

“They took a massive punt on me when I first signed here. First £1 million player from non-league. I did take a while to adapt. Struggled in the first season but second season, we hit it off like a house on fire.”