By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Jamie Vardy has urged Premier League clubs to save millions of pounds by buying the cream of the talent from the non league.
Vardy was snapped up by Leicester for £1million from Conference club Fleetwood Town four years ago, as he followed in the footsteps of Chris Smalling from the non-league to the English top flight.
The England international is now hoping his success convinces top-flight clubs to give more opportunities to non-league talent and has set up an academy to help amateur players make the breakthrough.
“There is a lot of talent in the lower leagues but people are not willing to take the risk and the chance that the likes of myself and Chris Smalling were given,” Vardy told TalkSport on Monday. “It is something we can improve on.
“Instead of spending millions and millions on players that still might not do it you can take the risk on a non-league player and they can progress well. Luckily for me personally, Leicester took the risk.”
Vardy wrote himself into the history books when he became the first player to score in 11 consecutive Premier League matches with the opener in Leicester’s 1-1 draw against Manchester United on Saturday.
The 28-year-old tops the top-flight scoring charts with 14 goals this season and his stunning run of form has led many to tip him for a starring role at Euro 2016 next summer.
“It is all down to me. If I let my performances drop, then that is giving a reason for me not to be involved,” Vardy added. “If I can keep the performances up for the rest of the season, then I am putting myself in with a good shout.”