Former Valiant Neil Aspin played a key role in Jamie Vardy’s rise from total unknown to England striker.
Jamie Vardy has hit the headlines after being called into the England squad, but it is worth noticing Aspin’s part in his development.
Jamie Vardy has hit the headlines after being called into the England squad, but it is worth noticing Aspin’s part in his development…
Vardy had been released by Sheffield Wednesday at 16 and was playing for Stockbridge Steel Swifts when Aspin took an interest. Aspin had been interested in the forward while Harrogate manager but was only able to follow-up his interest when he moved to FC Halifax Town.
In 2010, Aspin, who had declared himself a long-time admirer of the forward, finally got his man. Vardy signed for Halifax for the princely sum of £800 and Aspin declared “He is a player I was interested in when I was at Harrogate. We watched him again last pre-season and rated him very highly and we have continued to watch him. He is a talent with pace and the ability to play on either wing or down the middle. He is one who the supporters will like.”
Aspin’s words turned out to be true. Vardy hit 27 goals in his first season and was named player of the year as the club won the Northern Premier League title. In 2011, big-spending Fleetwood snapped up Vardy for an undisclosed fee and in 2012 he was transferred to Leicester City for £1m.
Aspin, who played for the Valiants for ten years and made 410 appearances took FC Halifax Town to the brink of the Conference play-offs this season.