Jamie Vardy’s vast potential was always evident according to former team mate Shaun Beeley.
The Morecambe right back played alongside Leicester’s title-winning front man at Fleetwood back in the 2011-2012 season and says he was immediately struck by the England striker’s obvious qualities.
Having arrived at Highbury from Halifax Vardy would swiftly seal a move to the Foxes as he helped the Cod Army, who also had Morecambe midfielder Alan Goodall in their ranks, into the Football League for the first time in their history.
Beeley, set to miss The Shrimps’ final game of the season against York through injury, particularly recalls one performance in a 2-0 FA Cup win at Yeovil.
He said: “The first day when he came in I remember being sat in the changing room he had his skinhead and we were all looking round because we didn’t get told anyone was coming in.
“Next thing there’s a lad sat there and everyone’s thinking ‘what’s he about’?
“As soon as he started playing you could tell he had something special about him though.
“He had blistering pace and he could finish with both feet.
“It was typified in a game when we played Yeovil in the cup. They were doing alright at the time and he tore them to pieces.
“You could see then he had a lot more to offer.”
Having recently been pictured driving a £168,000 Bentley supercar, Beeley remembers Vardy’s more humble motoring days.
He said: “He was one of the lads and a top guy.
“He’s driving some nice cars now but I remember him turning up in an old Saab. It just shows he was well grounded.
“I wish him all the best and I’m glad he’s lighting up the big stage.”
Vardy’s meteoric rise from non-league to Premier League winner and potential Euro 2016 star is one that should give hope to plenty of lower league players.
Beeley said: “It will fill everyone with a little bit of hope that they can do the same.
“It is rare to be able to do what’s he done.
“But what he’s got is a will not to give anything up.
“You can see in games he’ll chase everything down in a way players in the Premier League aren’t used to.”